As an OD specialist & facilitator of Mentor Development Initiatives in large and medium organizations like Tieto, Amdocs and many other global organizations, am often faced with the question on relevance of developing a Mentoring Culture in global organizations.
Having led more than hundred Leadership & Mentoring labs for close to a thousand Sr. Executives & Leaders in last 8 years, i have found some compelling reasons as to why organizations must pay attention to developing a healthy mentoring culture. Here are 4 of them. Hope you find these useful and helps you create new conversations or possibilities of creating mentoring culture in your organization.
1. Been there done that, now what
Its been more than 8 years that i have been coaching and mentoring Sr. executives. One common thread that i often sense in these assignments is a sense of reaching a certain plateau. These executives with more than 12 to 15 years of hands on experience have reached a stage in their career, where they are at a comfortable position in their personal as well as work lives. The initial drive of achievement that comes along with youth has slowly been tempered by years of direct work experience. Money is no longer a big driver nor reaching the next designation. Rather many of them are at top of the pyramid and they know that position wise organization can not offer any further growth opportunities. This is exactly where they yearn for a challenge.
I believe mentoring someone younger and less experienced than them offers them that sense of challenge. It also appeals to their need of contributing their knowledge and experience in a meaningful way. Many of the mentors that i have mentored, state that the satisfaction of directly making a difference to someones life gives them a rare opportunity to participate in someones transformation. They truely love it, enjoy it and value it. They also begin to develop a sense of meaning to their work lives. In absence of fulfillment of these needs many Sr. leaders fall prey to either boredom, midlife crisis or rigid behaviors at work place.
When the organization enables them with the opportunity to mentor the next line of leadership, it is like a new lease of life for many of these Sr. leaders who in private sulk about meaninglessness attached to their high paying jobs. And i feel hence its a good idea to create these opportunities for them.
2. Knowledge Sharing & Leadership Wisdom sharing are two different ball games
Mentoring is one of the most ancient way of sharing and transferring wisdom used by even early human societies. Training, Learning & Development initiatives are all useful but have their own limitations. In a mentor – mentee relationship, what gets shared is not just information but hard earned wisdom that is born out of direct experience of Sr. Leaders of your organization.
If your organization, does not build a framework for institutionalizing the mentoring culture, you are loosing out on years of accumulated Leadership wisdom which will never be written in any book or will be given an opportunity to be showcased and used. I have found that often one single tip that you receive from an experienced mentor can actually help you boost your career or help during critical decision making period in mentees life.
3. It is no longer only business, it is about generosity and creating a culture of respect and sharing
In one of our mentoring labs that i was leading for Tieto, at the conclusion of the year long Mentoring Program, most of the participants shared that this initiative made them feel something unique. They said we sense that organization really cares not only for our career growth but it helped us meet an unmet need. That of a sharing and caring connection with another human being committed to their growth. Something which is becoming rare in todays world. It not only made them feel grateful for the opportunity, but due to the long term nature of the program, it gave them a different sense of belonging to the organization.
If you can create these opportunities and right training and education for the experienced mentors in his or her organization, you are appealing to one of the highest human values of sharing and caring in your employees. This not only inspires the mentors but also inspires the mentees to grow and one day move into a role of an experienced leader very seamlessly. Hence i feel is not only relevant but in todays times of “fast moving executive culture” (executives moving from one company to other faster) but very important too.
4. The mentees of today, tend to avoid the blunders made by earlier leaders
Another crucial benefit of the long term Mentor-Mentee relationship is the way it impacts critical business decision making process. In many successful mentoring relationships, the mentor often shares about the rash decisions they took during their careers when they were at helm of affairs. That sharing often influences the mentees and inspires them to look at long term business impact of their decisions. This wisdom is rare and is rarely shared openly by Sr. Leaders.
At Red Wisdom, when we create these engagement programs, we inspire and empower Sr. Leaders to share their blunders and wrong decisions with mentees. And when they do, they not only are helping the new leaders but are directly contributing to long term sustainability of the organizational decision making process based on sound values.
Hope you found this article to be useful, do share your comments and observations generously. Looking forward to write more on this platform. Wish you a lovely day ahead.
Co -Founder & Lead Facilitator at RedWisdom.in
Read more on http://www.rajmali.com