Creating a mentoring culture goes beyond just running mentoring programs. While programs are good ways to uphold it, mentoring fosters learning, knowledge sharing, and personal development, which programs alone cannot achieve. Mentoring should be a part of the overall organizational culture, and it takes time, intentionality in planning, and the leadership team’s support. It should be part of the company’s foundational value as a whole.
Mentoring culture makes mentoring accessible to every team member in the organization regardless of their position. Mentoring happens formally, such as in mentoring programs and informally across the spectrum of business life.
Like all the other cultures, it takes intentionality to build the mentoring culture. It doesn’t happen overnight. It has to be built over time. Here are some things that you can do to develop the mentoring culture in your organization:
Maximize What Is Already in Place.
Most organizations already have running leadership development initiatives and performance development processes. You can maximize those avenues already in place to integrate mentoring and build the culture you desire. Mentoring naturally fits these pre-existing initiatives, so do not miss the opportunity to take advantage of it. These are a perfect avenue to build connections with one another, set group mentorings, and receive personal mentoring, whether formally or informally.
Make Sure That Mentoring Is Accessible.
Everyone needs to have access to mentoring. Unfortunately, mentoring usually dies a slow death simply because of its exclusivity. It also shouldn’t be hierarchical. Whether it is a boss-to-employee kind of mentoring or peer-to-peer mentoring, it should be encouraged.
Reverse mentoring is also a culture that needs to be welcomed. The senior employees are not all-knowing. There are things that they can learn from the next generation of subordinates that they cannot know in their years in the industry. The next generation has a lot of new things to offer at the table, and the older executives should welcome those fresh ideas if you want to establish a mentoring culture. Indeed everyone has something to share and something to learn. You just have to improve the inclusivity and make mentoring available and accessible to everyone.
Empower Mentees to Take the Lead.
The goal of mentoring is to set people up for success. The mentor should allow the mentees to apply what they learn from all the mentoring. This promotes independence which helps the mentees grow in confidence in the field. Set the mentees up for success by applying what they learn from the mentoring sessions and programs. You can start by working hand in hand with them and giving them significant roles in the projects. By empowering them, they will learn to communicate their ideas more often and more effectively and communicate with people outside the team, which will create a much more connected working environment.
Celebrate Mentoring Success.
Whether big or small, progress is still progress. The heart of creating a mentoring culture is to promote accountability and help each other grow personally or in the team. Celebrating success reinforces goals and positive habits like inspiring other employees and encouraging them to support one another. Mentoring doesn’t just grow an individual, but it does grow the team.
Mentoring is a critical part of the team member development process, enhancing your team members’ professional and personal growth. The mentoring culture is not easy to establish, but it is possible.
Remember that mentoring is one of the traits of a great leader who knows how to make everyone around him better. If you want to be a great leader, then mentor someone.