It is worth thinking about the personal qualities and professional skills which make effective mentors:
- good interpersonal and communication skills
- good listening skills
- a genuine desire to help others
- an open mind and flexible attitude
- supportive without being controlling
- can give guidance to a mentee without making their decisions
- will always give honest answers
- doesn‘t apportion blame but looks to find solutions
- actively questions the mentee
- ability to probe and challenge
- willingness to debate and discuss
- has realistic expectations of themselves and others
- good organizational skills.
- excellent teacher practitioner
- knowledge and experience of the mentee‘s new area of work
- knows organisational routines, procedures and policies
- enthusiastic about teaching
- can offer a range of perspectives and teaching and learning techniques
- can make suggestions informed by their own expertise and experience
- can empower the mentee with the knowledge gained from their experience
- can help the mentee to identify practice which meets professional requirements.
The assigned mentor has these characteristics.
- Wants to mentor another employee and is committed to the employee’s growth and development and cultural integration.
- Has the job content knowledge necessary to effectively teach a new employee significant job knowledge.
- Familiar with the organization’s norms and culture. Can articulate and teach the culture.
- Demonstrates honesty, integrity, and both respect for and responsibility for stewardship.
- Demonstrates effective communication skills both verbally and nonverbally.
- Willing to help develop another employee through guidance, feedback, and occasionally, an insistence on a particular level of performance or appropriate direction.
- Initiates new ideas and fosters the employee’s willingness and ability to make changes in his or her performance based on the constant change occurring in their work environment.
- Has enough emotional intelligence to be aware of their personal emotions and is sensitive to the emotions and feelings of the employee they are mentoring.
- Is an individual who would be rated as “highly successful” in both their job and in navigating the organization’s culture by coworkers and managers.
- Demonstrates success in establishing and maintaining professional networks and relationships, both online and offline.
- Willing to communicate failures as well as successes to the mentored employee.
- Able to spend an appropriate amount of time with the mentored employee.
- Open to spending time with diverse individuals who may not share a common background, values, or goals.
- Able to initiate conflict to ensure the employee’s successful integration into the organization. Willing to acknowledge, as a mentor, that an employee may not succeed in your organization.
- Able to say when the relationship is not working and back away appropriately without regard to ego issues or the need to assign blame or gossip about the situation.
If you select employees to mentor who have these characteristics, you will ensure the success of your formal mentor relationships. This, in turn, ensures the successful integration of the new employee within your work unit.