Mentoring relationships are crucial to business. Both mentor and mentee benefit from working together. The more experienced business person shares his knowledge with the less tenured employee which helps them advance. The mentee can teach his advisor about new generations coming into the workforce and some of the new skills they bring to their careers.
For best results as a mentor, follow these 7 Mentorship Do’s and Don’ts.
1. Set communication standards. Begin your relationship with a frank discussion. Explain what you offer and what you expect. Ask him for feedback as to what he needs and anticipates.
2. Share your personal work history with your mentee. People learn by example so your wealth of experiences will help him make critical decisions.
3. Offer your constructive criticism. Be kind but honest. Give him opportunities to improve skills and learn new methods.
4. Encourage him to advance. Present him with opportunities to succeed and move up in the company. These can include further education, cross-training and additional skills development.
5. Make him a priority. You have much on your plate but, this is an important enterprise for your mentee and yourself. Your mentoring skills and experience will serve you well as you continue your career climb.
6. Give advice on his work decisions. Use your wisdom from experience to give him suggestions to help him achieve. He might not always take it, but that’s okay.
7. Set high reachable expectations. Encourage your mentee to work to the best of his abilities. Assist him in reaching goals by teaching, correcting and holding him accountable.
1. Pretend you are perfect. The worker won’t expect infallibility, so relax
2. Act like you know more than you do. If you do not have the answer to a question your mentee poses, tell him. Then do some research to find the correct information.
3. Take your role lightly. Instead, commit to giving your best. Always, be receptive to your mentee, teach him techniques and methods he will need on the job and encourage his productivity.
4. Attempt to solve all your mentee’s problems. You want him to learn to resolve issues himself. Do provide him with the necessary tools. For example, teach him the basics of time management and organization.
5. Overreact to a mentee’s mistake. Remember, you can fix most errors and, rarely, are these mistakes extremely serious.
6. Let your relationship influence your decisions. You are likely to become close with the employee you mentor, but don’t allow this to cloud your business acumen.
7. Become involved in the mentee’s personal life. His private affairs should not factor in his work performance.
Mentorship can be very rewarding and a valuable way to build a great company culture and retaining talented younger team members. It also gives you personal satisfaction that you are helping someone grow.
Do you have other do’s and don’ts to add to this list?
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.