It’s a win-win
People often view mentoring as a mostly-selfless sacrifice, with mentees having much more to gain. Sharing wisdom with newbies and helping someone climb the career ladder has, of course, its warm-and-fuzzy intrinsic rewards. But, the benefits definitely don’t end there.
According to one report, paying it forward can lead to higher salaries and better career advancement opportunities for those paying, too. When you become an engaged mentor, you improve virtually every aspect of your work life. From honing your skills to having better relationships at work, there are many reasons to be a mentor.
1. Enhance your knowledge and skills.
You know that saying, “Those who can, do; those who can't, teach”? I disagree. And, I’ll tell you why. By teaching others something, you gain a deeper understanding of that topic. So, the more you teach, the more you know.
“Students enlisted to tutor others … researchers have found, work harder to understand the material, recall it more accurately and apply it more effectively. In what scientists have dubbed ‘the protégé effect,’ student teachers score higher on tests than pupils who are learning only for their own sake.”
Aside from topical knowledge, you also develop and strengthen your management and leadership muscles. Regardless of your career trajectory, these are invaluable tools.
Good leadership requires - among other things - a ton of patience, flexibility, emotional intelligence, and self-control. And, as they say, practice makes perfect.
- Mentoring on a regular basis can lead to more effective listening skills, by training you to focus your attention on others when they're speaking.
- And it makes you a better storyteller, by allowing you to practice with your mentee - delivering helpful advice and lessons through your personal experiences.
- As communication expert Bruna Martinuzzi puts it, “Stories are the Velcro that can help make the message stick.”
If you decide to pursue people management as a career, mentoring can give you good practice for the gig.
- In fact, mentoring someone successfully can strengthen your case to get that promotion.
- Furthermore, if you're still on the fence about pursuing people management, mentoring someone can be a quick sneak peek into what that may look like.
2. Strengthen personal connections at work and expand your network.
On average, a full-time employee spends around 40+ hours a week at work. That’s a huge chunk of our lives. And, spending that much time somewhere we always feel like a house guest isn’t so great. So, if you want to feel at home in the office and enjoy your workday more, put on that mentoring hat.
- Mentoring allows you to feel a greater sense of belonging and comfort with your colleagues and within your organization.
- In addition to strengthening your existing connections, it also increases your number of them, which can be great for networking.
- Your mentees can expand your network by introducing you to new people.
- They can also be helpful allies down the road - opening doors for you as they progress in their careers.
- And, you're building a talent pipeline for the times when you’ll be hiring.
3. Broaden your perspective.
Sometimes, we’re so focused on achieving the next milestone that we rarely take a step back to appreciate how far we’ve come. That’s a shame because it would make our journeys a lot more rewarding, pleasant, and successful. Mentoring helps you realize how much you’ve accomplished during your career, because you have to intentionally reflect on it when helping a protege.
It also changes your perspective, for the better, in other ways.
- Mentoring someone outside of your immediate circle makes you knowledgeable about the various business lines, products, and roles within your company, which makes you a more well-rounded employee.
- When helping mentees solve their problems or answer important life/career questions, you reflect on how you made certain decisions, which leads to greater self-awareness and empathy.
- It can also enrich your thinking, allowing you to see through the eyes of various types of people - who range in gender, industry, age, socioeconomic background, etc.
4. Get closer to a raise or promotion.
The most tangible possible benefits of mentoring are higher pay and promotions. In addition to earlier points, mentoring can help you get these in other ways. You gain more visibility within your company and become a better problem solver, by seeing from your mentee’s perspective and helping them see outside of theirs. You also learn how others perceive you and solve internal issues more effectively - with new insights you gain into other parts of your company.
During a five-year study of 1,000 Sun Microsystem employees, the company had some interesting results:
- Those with mentees were about 20% more likely to get a raise.
- Mentors were six times more likely to get promoted.
5. Feel personal satisfaction.
And last but not least, it just makes you feel good and accomplished to help someone succeed.
- It’s a great way to improve your emotional health and overall wellbeing - and collect some Good Karma credits while you’re at it :)
- Viewing your overall contributions, especially in relation to someone newer in their career, re-energizes you.
- Sharing advice on things, such as company navigation, pitfalls to avoid, and ways to maximize performance, can make you feel empowered.
Please share this article with your networks using hashtag #nextplaymentoring. You can email me at Jenni@nextplay.ai if any of this resonated with you - and especially if you have a mentorship success story to share!