One of the best ways to further employee skills and professional development is to develop a mentoring relationship with an employee. A mentor is someone an employee can trust to offer you crucial information for success, including advice and broader context and history, and who can act as a sounding board for the employee. Mentors can also challenge employees to see new perspectives and provide them with inspiration.
While GW does not have a formal mentor/mentee program, we encourage managers to build informal mentoring relationships. You can use these tips to ensure your mentoring relationship is productive.
Managers as Mentors
As a manager, you may be approached to be a staff member's mentor or you may identify someone on your team or beyond who may benefit from mentoring. As a mentor, you should offer crucial information for your mentee’s success, including advice, broader context and history than they may have, and act as a sounding board for them. You should also challenge your mentee to see new perspectives and provide them with guidance and inspiration.
- A mentor does not have to be part of a mentee's team, school, or department. You may be approached by or identify a mentee who is looking for advice and guidance on careers outside of his/her current role. A mentee may also be looking for general advice and guidance, regardless of their particular career or role at the university.
- Be courageous about sharing your experiences, both good and bad. Candidly sharing a mistake or bad outcome can provide your mentee with valuable insight into how to identify risks and prevent negative outcomes. Model ethical leadership and the willingness to own your mistakes.
- Challenge your mentee. Inspire them to stretch, try new things, and become comfortable with ambiguity and change. Check in on their progress periodically and offer both advice and moral support.
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