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Ten Reasons to Put Mentoring at the Top of Your List

Enter into a get-get arrangement for success this year and beyond

Published: Wednesday, January 26, 2022 - 13:03

The past two years have been tough. Many of us are feeling bogged down, burned out, and wary of what the future holds. But instead of creeping into 2022 with a sense of dread, what if you bounded into it with optimism and confidence?

Yes, there’s a way to revitalize your career, your outlook, and your mindset: Resolve to become a mentor in the upcoming year.

Most people think of mentoring as a giving exchange, but it’s really a getting exchange. It’s a reciprocal relationship in which mentors often learn as much as they teach. You might be concerned that you just don’t have the bandwidth to add one more role to your already-busy schedule this year. But the ROI in becoming a mentor is unbeatable—and the benefits will last well beyond this year.

For many high-level mentors, the monthly time commitment is typically no more than an hour of preparation and an hour to meet. Some pairs might choose to meet more often, others less.

If you still aren’t sure whether to become a mentor, read on to discover 10 surprising benefits you can expect to receive.

Mentoring can reignite your engagement

As you share your accumulated knowledge with your mentee, you’ll explain why you chose the path you did and reflect on what your career means to you. Especially if you’ve been going through the motions for the past few years, this self-reflection can help you rediscover your enthusiasm for your job and reconnect you with your professional purpose.

It can help you hone new skills and broaden your perspective

Often, mentees keep their mentors up to speed with current tools and technologies (for instance, what apps they’re using for productivity), help them learn to work with those of a different generation or background, and give them new insights into topics like inclusivity and unconscious bias.

Mentoring can help you get to know yourself better

You’ll sometimes need to take a step back and ponder what you really “know.” You’ll confront topics such as the nature of leadership, what success really means, and how to be a better person. This introspection either will reinforce your viewpoint or change it, which will drive learning and personal growth.

You can develop lifelong relationships

I still am in contact with men and women who sat across the table from me 40 years ago. Through the years, we’ve talked about college, jobs, surviving and thriving in the business world, marriage and kids, finances, and stress. Now we talk about how they’re enjoying the fruits of a successful life—a perfect outcome.

It expands your network

Many of your mentees will go on to work for other organizations. Maybe you will, too. You never know how these connections might eventually help you, your company, or your future mentees.

It raises your profile in the organization

In most organizations, especially those that have a formal mentoring program, mentors are considered an influential, successful group of leaders. When you add value to your company by developing mentees, your reputation will benefit.

Being a mentor pushes you to always do your best

Knowing that your mentee is closely observing how you think, act, tackle challenges, and manage conflict will ensure that you’re not cutting any corners. If you give your mentee advice, he’ll need to see you implementing it in your own career as well.

Mentoring feels good

To me, true success isn’t as much about wealth or power as it is about adding value—and where better to add value than in another person’s life? It’s a privilege to pay my experience forward to deserving, emerging leaders, and I have gained a deep, abiding sense of satisfaction from doing so.

It can give new life to your self-development

Great leaders consistently consume a useful array of books, articles, podcasts, websites, and videos. If your self-development has fallen by the wayside, you’ll need to kick-start it again if you expect your mentee to invest in herself in a similar way.

Mentoring gives you faith in the future

Mentors often report that their opinion of the next generation has improved because they have a better understanding of younger workers’ strengths and potential. Mentors also say they’ve become more effective leaders because they’ve gained important insights about younger people’s outlook and priorities.

When considering self-improvement, many people focus on giving back to others and on implementing positive changes to their relationships, attitude, and behavior. Becoming a mentor allows you to do all those things and will enrich your life for many years to come.

And remember, investing in a mentoring relationship means investing in your own professional success. Especially after the chaos of the past two years, who wouldn’t like that to be their legacy for 2022?


About The Authors

Bert Thornton’s picture

Bert Thornton

Bert Thornton is the retired President/COO and the Vice Chairman Emeritus of Waffle House, Inc. Thornton has board roles and advisory positions with many organizations including the Studer Community Institute in Pensacola and educational organizations such as the Georgia Institute of Technology, The Museum School of Avondale Estates, GA., and the University of West Florida where he is an Entrepreneur in Residence at the College of Business, Center for Entrepreneurship. Thornton is also the author of Find an Old Gorilla: Pathways Through the Jungles of Business and Life, and co-author of High Impact Mentoring: A Practical Guide to Creating Value in Other People’s Lives.

Sherry Hartnett’s picture

Sherry Hartnett

Dr. Sherry Hartnett is a marketing and leadership professor, consultant, author, and mentor. At the University of West Florida, she founded the pioneering, high-impact experiential learning Executive Mentor Program. Hartnett is coauthor of High Impact Mentoring: A Practical Guide to Creating Value in Other People's Lives.