What does it take to be a mentor in this generation-defined age of boomers, gen-xes, gen-ys, and millennials? Typically, we hear of the gaps that exist from one generation’s understanding of the next. These gaps are often created by negative perceptions of each other, resulting in a premise that the younger generation must adapt and learn from their elders. From this, we end up with traditional mentoring models that have a one-sided mentor-mentee flow. There is heavy emphasis on the mentee being on the receiving end of that flow as sage wisdom pours down from the more experienced and mature mentor.
The traditional mentoring model has definite benefits. However, it does not have to be a one-way learning or training relationship. A recent article from Forbes.com offers an expansion of the mentor-mentee relationship that includes mutual benefits to both parties.
This article identifies the modern mentor as one who is willing to step up and participate in the mentor-mentee relationship as an exchange. Through active participation the modern mentor should be able to change that one-way flow to a two-way transfer of ideas, new learnings, and growth that provide mutual benefits to both parties in the mentoring relationship. When we change the direction of the flow to a two-way exchange there is clear evidence that both parties will benefit, their respective generation will benefit, and the organization will benefit as a whole.
- What learning, skills, and experience would you bring to a mentor-mentee relationship if you were the mentor?
- What benefits would you bring to a mentor-mentee relationship if you were the mentee?
- What perceptions do you have of the baby boomer generation?
- How do you think you are perceived as a member of a particular generation based group? Do you agree with this perception?