Worklife grooves on Ferrari for some people, most especially those with a Mentor. This can be at the same time and in the same environment others are having career and worklife nightmares. And there are other possible several reasons for either experience.
The focus here are on people whose worklife grooves because they have a mentor. Worklife nightmares caused by a bad boss, toxic workplace, inappropriate organisation culture and the like can be better managed and overcome with the support of a great mentor.
Worklife grooves on Ferrari if there is a mentor that can tell you the hard, difficult and painful truth. Someone who can provide guidance that is well scripted and targeted to get you to a c-level position. A mentor who can drain the vibrancy out of your great idea, because it can only get you 5% of the way. And ready to stand by you, as you take on the other 95% which is execution.
Most times, people are introduced to mentoring through an organisation network they belong. Individuals drop off, or grow strong in the mentoring relationship because of the program management structure.
Mentors help worklife grooves with benefits
What is important is knowing after five decades of mentoring relationship research, with irrefutable evidence: worklife grooves for people who have strong mentors. Such people accrue a host of professional benefits, including more rapid advancement, higher salaries, greater organizational commitment, stronger identity, and higher satisfaction with both job and career.
They also see personal benefits, such as better physical health and self-esteem, ease of work-life integration, and strong–er relational skills. At its best, mentoring can transform lives and careers while bolstering retention and maximizing employee potential.
A mentee cannot succeed in a mentoring relationship without a good mentor. I have enough reasons to blame myself for not maximizing mentors that came my way. Though I could have done better if the mentoring program was well resourced to provide support, even though I was failing as a mentee.
The focus of this issue will therefore be placed on the mentor and the mentoring structure.
Worklife grooves if we address the Achilles heel in organizational mentoring structures
If there is a single, consistent Achilles heel in organizational mentoring structures, it is marginal mentoring. Marginal or mediocre mentoring may be a consequence of assigning mentors who are too busy, disinterested, dysfunctional, or simply lack competence in the role.
Marginal mentoring can also come from using experienced mentors. They could have supported other mentees very well in the past, but who at that point, are struggling with some aspects of their worklife.
The worst of marginal mentoring is where prospective mentors are randomly selected or told to participate. And thereafter, leaders fail to give resources, evaluate, or reward mentoring.
With no meaningful incentives attached, it is justifiably seen as an onerous add-on duty. A thankless distraction from real work that leads to immediate and visible productivity, pay and advancement.
What’s more, too often, program leaders erroneously assume that any successful manager can mentor effectively, with minimal (if any) training. Evidence indicates that poor mentoring can be worse for employees than no mentoring at all.
Ill-prepared and marginally competent mentors not only give mentoring a bad name in an organization. They also sabotage retention, commitment, and employee development. The very objectives that drive mentoring initiatives in the first place.
The Experienced Mentor: Mentor to Mentors
Note: The use of the phrase, ‘master mentor’ has been changed to, ‘experienced mentor’. This is to reflect ongoing changes as a result of the black lives matter campaign.
The Experienced Mentor approach described by Harvard Business Review (HBR) was designed to create cohorts of experienced and well-trained mentors. This approach is effective at enhancing the personal well-being and career trajectories of mentees. It also produces mentors who are also willing to become resources and coaches to less experienced mentors.
HBR reports that this pilot program yielded some important lessons for mentoring organizers.
- Provide resources needed to administer the program.
- Create and celebrate a culture of excellence in mentoring.
- Give awards, public recognition, and other perks to reinforce the message.
- Start a yearly event to celebrate graduating new Experienced Mentors.
Successful Experienced Mentors accelerate the advancement of high-talent hires. They also elevate the quality of mentoring throughout their organization. Here are the salient components of the model developed:
Note, you may be asked to register with HBR to access the original web page.