Do you consider yourself a good employee?
How did you become one?
If I were a gambler, I’d wager at least one person spent real time with you during various stages of your career.
“I don’t have time to teach someone, to invest in them,” you say.
“I barely have time for my own employees or my own family.”
But we learn more by teaching. We gain more by giving.
Have you ever been asked to explain something you know you know, but you have no idea how to actually explain because you’ve just been “doing it that way” for so long?
When you work with someone who has never done what you do, you discover there may be other, newer, more efficient ways to achieve the same result or even better ones.
Uncovering ways to work smarter not harder will, in the long run, return more of your time to you.
Our professional experiences have been and will be different than the generations which follow us. I challenged my students to navigate to our local downtown area without their phones and using an “old fashioned” map book. The look of sheer terror was comical. Conversely, this is the generation who will help us utilize artificial intelligence in our daily work activities (ethically, of course).
We have much to gain from different, younger, or more inexperienced colleagues – and not just time or knowledge. It’s that rare opportunity to help repay, in some small way, those who taught and supported you all while benefiting yourself.
You probably learned core values or best practices years ago, and if you still abide by them, mentoring is a chance to perpetuate those values or practices in a world that is increasingly leaning into shortcuts and short-term gains.
Sharing your wisdom and enthusiasm with another person may be the most empowering experience that colleague has. You may be part of the foundation of a career, and you can certainly be a pillar of support.
We all want to “go back and give ourselves advice.” Mentoring is a chance to help someone avoid a couple of the sprained ankles we experienced along our own career path.
“Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.” – John Crosby