Reverse Mentoring

Dear House Rules,

As a tech savvy millennial working in a company shared by employees spanning four generations, how can I best leverage my skill set to advance within the organization? Our company doesn’t have a formal mentoring program so what can I do to be seen by senior management?
A hopeful emerging leader

Dear Emerging Leader,
To best answer your question, we checked in with Shannon Breuer, President of The Wiley Group, for her insight into mentoring. Shannon suggests you ask HR if the company offers a reverse mentoring program or if one can be put into place. Reverse mentoring is when a seasoned professional is paired with a young up-and-comer for the benefit of both parties. Junior staffers showcase their talent through this career-boosting access to a higher level. Established leaders pick up new skills, hear a fresh perspective from the front line, and demonstrate their ability to embrace new ideas.
GE introduced this concept in 1999 and now many companies are finding that this approach usually offers better connections for both, unlike traditional mentoring which tends to focus on the junior staffer/mentee. Also, this type of program can be easier to implement because the pairing and the goal setting is more targeted and often initially arranged online.
Millennials can boost their reverse mentoring benefits by following these guidelines:
1. Update LinkedIn and the company career profiles to highlight skills, projects, accomplishments, and your career goals.
2. Give equal time to how you can enrich the career of your mentorship partner and make a concerted effort to contribute to their growth.
3. Favor face-to-face mentorship meetings whenever possible to increase the possibility of building a trusted and potentially long-term business relationship.
Shannon pointed out that reverse mentorship can extend beyond business matters and believes, “A younger person can help the executive learn about the new topics such as trending health foods, Settlers of Catan, popular music, or even how to lead the next generation more effectively.” Well said Shannon and thanks for the insight.

With over 25 years in Fortune 100, consulting expertise, and the experience of leading a top wealth management organization since 2010, Shannon Breuer offers sound advice for professional development, relationship building, and ensuring you are financially prepared for the ultimate career move…. retirement.

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