The American educator Robert John Meehan said: “A great teacher is someone who learns from their students, who can learn with them, and learns for them.” Those are fine words to keep in mind for someone who is considering becoming a mentor to your company’s junior employee.
Some people fear that taking on a mentee will be a drag on their time and be counterproductive to their own career. However, most mentors enthusiastically report that choosing to serve another was a rewarding experience and helped them advance their own goals and position within an organization.
This is especially true for business owners. Being the top person at the company naturally involves a certain amount of mentoring anyway. But taking on the specific role of mentor to a selected individual brings sharper focus.
For example, an owner performs tasks like overseeing budgets, developing strategy, delegating responsibility, and more. This tends to absorb most of the time for a company leader. That, in turn, can remove them from what is happening “in the organization’s trenches”. But the lower level is where innovation is fermenting and where fresh ideas are born.
Serving as a mentor to a low-level employee provides direct access to this layer of company activity. A boss who knows what’s happening on the ground floor is a marker of a great leader.
About everyone who mentors report that doing so made them better at their own jobs. One of the ways it does that is by giving you consistent feedback. Brain researchers say that frequent feedback is a method of increasing one’s IQ. Researchers call it building “relational skills.” Interacting with a mentor is a way to “relate” to another in a novel way. This tends to increase skill sets and the very IQ itself.
Finally, mentoring helps enhance one’s reputation within an organization. When you support a mentee rise faster in their careers, they’ll go on to more important jobs and eventually command positions of importance. That means the mentor will have created a valuable person who is now able to offer something of great value to the person they know helped them get them to where they are today.