The workplace holds a central role in many people’s lives. The average person spends more time at work than on any other daily activity. This makes it important for individuals within any organization to feel connected and supported by their peers, subordinates, and leaders.
Psychologists have long identified the desire to feel connected to others as a basic human need with interpersonal relationships having a significant impact on mental health, health behavior, physical health, and mortality risk (Umberson & Montez, 2010). Indeed, human physiological systems are highly responsive to positive social interactions.
Meanwhile, a significant contributor to workplace stress is psychosocial hazards related to the culture within an organization, such as poor interpersonal relations and a lack of policies and practices related to respect for workers (Stoewen, 2016).
In today’s workplace, whether you are just jumping in, rising to the top or at the helm of affairs, there are key relationships that champion or consolidate our journey. These relationships are key to aid in navigating each maze with authority and humanity. We will be assessing the dynamics of each relationship, their benefits, how to cultivate them and most importantly how to grow them for mutual benefit. These relationships are namely:
- The Mentor Relationship
- The Sponsor Relationship
- The Advisor Relationship
- The Coaching Relationship
Even though these relationships have been loosely thrown about in every conversation, conference and other platforms, when well-utilized, well-understood and well-guided, they can lead to the make or break in life, love, success and business. In this article, we will look at the first relationship, the mentor relationship, and its role in shaping businesses positively with regards to growth and consolidation.
According to Leadership Management, a mentor in the workplace is someone who is capable of providing guidance to a less-experienced employee; the mentee. A mentor can be an employee of the same company, or even a professional from an external company.
Mentoring in an organization is a quick and effective route available to businesses when it comes to integrating fresh employees into the organisation as effortlessly as possible. These measures have the potential of being more than an on-boarding tool and should be utilized more appropriately and holistically.
Powerful and effective mentoring programmes provide requisite aid not only for fresh employees but also assists in fashioning a warm, open, inviting and engaging culture that energizes all employees to share their thoughts and ideas for leveraging and scaling the business and its potential. Mentoring in an organization also fosters goal setting. A new Accountemps report reveals that 93 percent of the workers surveyed said goal setting is important to their work performance, yet for some professionals, those discussions with managers never happen.
One of the most impressive things about an effective mentoring programme is how far the positive ripple effects reach. Mentoring benefits an organization by improving job satisfaction and retention, and aids in the personal and professional development of the mentee. Moreover, mentors themselves seem to gain just as much. SmallBusinessChron further highlights four major benefits for establishing a Mentorship programme at your workplace. Firstly, a mentorship programme helps chart a better career path for the individual. For the mentee, the advantages of having a trusted mentor can be innumerable. Particularly at the outset of a career, learning the ropes from someone who has been there is extremely valuable for success and advancement. A mentor can teach about the responsibilities specific to a job role or the state of an entire industry. He or she can also teach about the ins-and-outs of a company’s organizational chart, policies, practices and business methodologies.
Secondly, a mentorship programme at the workplace can be of immense reward for the mentor as well. Mentors can take pride and to some degree a bit of credit with respect to the work of their mentees. With an open mind, mentors can also learn much from their young charges. A business veteran who has been in the business for decades might not necessarily understand the utility and benefits of the internet as much as a digital native. By creating a symbiotic relationship with the mentee, he or she can be abreast with all the latest trends and their positive impact on the business.
Another benefit is that it can establish a multi-generational culture. As mentor and mentee develop their own relationship, they help create and perpetuate a positive company culture that combines the best qualities of the individuals, regardless of their age. Maybe an older worker has a terrific work ethic and arrives early every day to accomplish tasks in a timely manner. What a great role model. However, that younger worker probably brings passion and enthusiasm to the workplace. What a great reminder to love what you do as well.
Last but not least, it can help create an expansive network by connecting the mentee to a professional network, to which he might never have been exposed. Personal introductions are powerful career collateral, especially for someone just starting out. A mentor can also write a recommendation for his/her mentee’s Linkedln profile for all the world to see.
Many leaders, managers and businesses are increasingly seeing the benefits mentoring provides and are willing to share their wealth of knowledge in helping build individuals and teams for their enterprise to flourish and succeed. In order for these relationships to be rewarding, we must kick them off with a solid foundation.
Here are a few thoughts on 4 strategies leaders and businesses can adopt for achieving success with mentoring in the workplace.
- Match Mentors and Mentees
Mentors and mentees need to be deliberately matched. To make a good match, you need data; as much data as you can get about each person. One simple way to gain information is to create a questionnaire that asks interested employees about their career objectives, communication styles, and what they are looking for in a mentor or mentee. Once you understand their needs and goals, you can now pair them up according to their responses. Successful mentor-mentee pairings are those where the participants have similar interests and personalities, as well as complementary goals. Dr. Liz Selzer, a consultant with a California-based consultancy called The Mentoring Group, oversees leadership development for more than 30,000 leaders in the non-profit sector. She suggests matching people based on who they will get along with best: “If people get along, they will stay in the pair longer,” she says.
- Build Strong Mentoring Programmes
Make mentorship a mainstay in your organization’s culture. You can begin with promoting it during the recruitment process and start matching new hires accordingly to make sure they succeed. This requires planning, internal marketing and training.”You need to make sure that senior executives within the organization are on-board and are part of the communications that go out, that they are endorsing the programme, and hopefully are participating in the programme as well: they are serving as mentors, making sure everybody knows: “Hey this is something that is important to the company.”
- Establish Roles and Responsibilities
Mentoring relationships should, from the onset, have a clear delineation between their role as mentors and the danger of being pigeonholed as a supervisor. The roles and responsibilities should be clear to each party. Mentors supply advice and guidance; they do not give work assignments or instruct mentees on how to do their jobs. After they are paired up, they must encourage the relationship by staying in regular contact. Check-ins by email or phone are fine, but occasional in-person meetings are critical.
- Engage Team in Goal-setting
Companies gain immensely when employees have clear goals that assist them in meeting the overall business goals. Employees who can envision clear future with an organization and feel aided and encouraged in their professional endeavors are more likely to stick with a company for longer. Mentors can do this by providing access to training and development opportunities and also offering feedback and constructive critique on performance and praise for exceptional work.
Mentoring in the workplace is a mutual dance that benefits both mentor and mentee. It can help consolidate and leverage the quality of work, scale up productivity, shore up employee retention and fashion a more positive and lively work environment.
Making strong mentoring relationships is a vital part of your corporate culture can be beneficial to all stakeholders and in effect, will strengthen the company as a unit. Remember that this is only one aspect of the type of healthy workplace relationship we can be engaged in. Despite the impact of COVID and the reduction of physical meetings, mentorship can still be effectively executed virtually.
Whether you are the mentor or the mentee, a close-knit interaction can be beneficial to both parties. We are always tempted to believe that the mentee is the only beneficiary when in fact, the simple interactions will reveal a lot about ourselves and our aspirations even as mentors. The key is to be effective in our roles whether as mentors or as mentees. I would love to hear from you as you begin this journey.
Are you ready for TRANSFORMATION?
Dzigbordi K. Dosoo: The H.E.L.P. Coach
Dzigbordi K. Dosoo is a Personal Impact, Professional Growth and Influence Expert specializing in Humanness, Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Power – H.E.L.P.
A career spanning over two decades, she has established herself as a Certified High Performance Coach, Speaker, Author, Wellness Expert and award-winning Entrepreneur with a clientele ranging from C-Suite Executives, Senior Management, Practitioners and Sales Leaders spanning 3 continents.
She is the Founder of Dzigbordi K. Dosoo (DKD) Holdings; a premier lifestyle business group with brand subsidiaries that include Dzigbordi Consulting Group& Allure Africa.
Dzigbordi has been featured on CNN for her entrepreneurial expertise. She is one of the most decorated female entrepreneurs in Ghana having being named “CIMG Marketing Woman of the Year” in 2009; “Top 10 most respected CEOs in Ghana, 2012; Global Heart of Leadership Award and, Women Rising “100 Most Influential Ghanaian Women”, 2017.
She can be reached on [email protected] and @dzigbordikwaku across all social media platforms.