The makings of a mentor…


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While at this year’s Western Psychology Conference in Portland with my research assistant Allie Vreeman, I had the pleasure of running into my college mentor, Dr. Dana of Chapman University. This got my wheels turning about the importance of mentorship and how it has helped shape my leadership development.

If you have ever had an older, more experienced employee or boss take you under his or her wing and guide you, then you probably know how valuable mentoring can be. Dawrin (2000) has stated that the more mentoring people receive the more promotions and pay raises they subsequently receive during their careers. So, with that information I would like to introduce 10 easy steps to not only make you a better mentor but also a better protege (Clutterbuck & Ragins, 2002; Wickman & Sdodin, 1997).

Mentors should…

1. Be responsible to proteges, not for them.

2. Make the mentoring relationship fun and enjoyable.

3. Recognize that their involvement with their proteges extends beyond the workday.

4. Listen carefully to their proteges.

5. Openly acknowledge their failures as well as their successes.

6. Protect their proteges and expect their proteges to protect them.

7. Give their proteges not only direction but also options.

8. Recognize and encourage their proteges in small successes and accomplishments.

9. Encourage independent thinking among their proteges.

10. Focus not only on job skills but also on ethical values.

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Clutterback, D., & Ragins, B.R. (2002). Mentoring and diversity: An international perspective. Burlington, MA: Butterworth-Heinemann. Wickman, F., & Sdodin, T. (1997). Mentoring. Chicago: Irwin.

Darwin, A. (2000). Critical reflections on mentoring in work settings. Adult Education Quaterly, 50, 197-211.