Expert advice on Business Leadership and tips on becoming a more effective Leader.

Leadership Lesson: Give Back – Be a Mentor! By Jane Schulte

Are you at a point in your career where you feel compelled to give back? While you likely cannot give “back” to the people who have helped you along the way, you can give “forward.” By being a mentor, you can contribute significantly to the career development of others, especially those with promise within your company.

The difference between training and mentoring is significant. Training means providing the tools and time, but it is really up to the other person to “get it.” Mentoring means taking a personal interest in another and seeing the training and knowledge transfer through to its completion and success. It is an investment that reaps mutually satisfying rewards.

Sharing your professional and personal skills and experiences with another promotes growth and development that might not otherwise be possible.

Some of the benefits to the less experienced employee (mentee) include:

* Increased knowledge;
* A supportive environment in which successes and failures can be explored and evaluated;
* A smooth transition to the next level, i.e. promotion; and
* Development of professional confidence and self-esteem.

Some of the benefits to the more experienced employee (mentor) include:

* Giving back what you were given earlier in your career by others;
* Participation in challenging discussions with someone who will have a fresh perspective on business and life that you might not otherwise be exposed to;
* Satisfaction from contributing to the success of another; and
* An opportunity to test new ideas and concepts.

Benefits to the company include:

* Improved delivery of products and/or services through more informed and skilled staff;
* Higher employee retention; and
* Improved communication between separate areas of the company.

To evaluate whether you would make a good mentor, consider whether you possess these qualities:

* Flexible and progressive style, particularly good people skills;
* Trustworthiness in order to have open and honest communication;
* A win/win agenda; and
* The ability to give constructive advice and to act as a role model.

A successful mentoring partnership is a career development experience to be enjoyed. If your company does not currently have a mentoring program, pioneer the trail. In addition to the benefits outlined above, it will bridge the gap between the various levels of authority within the organization, thus affecting morale and ultimately the bottom line!

Be a Mentor!
Jane Schulte is the founder of PRISM Business Advisors located in Greater Cincinnati. She is also the Author of WORK SMART, Not Hard! and BOLD Leadership. Please visit or more information.

Have you had any experience being a mentor, or having been mentored? if so, in your opinion what are some important elements that should be present to ensure positive experience in the mentor relationship? Please use the comments section below to share your thoughts.