how to build a culture of mentorship on your team

There are huge advantages to establishing a learning culture on your team: When your team members all share a commitment to continuous improvement, you’re not only going to get better and better at what you do (individually and as a group), but you’ll also build a pipeline of people able to grow into higher level of responsibility.

One way to do that is to build a team of mentors. Often when people think about mentorship, they think of formal programs that pair junior employees with more senior ones, but it can be something much broader than that, like ad-hoc mentorship or coaching in specific skills and an overarching dynamic that “we all help each other learn here.”

At Intuit QuickBase’s Fast Track blog today, I talk about how to build that kind of dynamic. You can read it here.

{ 5 comments… read them below }

  1. Brett

    I’ve always felt that building mentorships is more of a leadership activity than a management activity. With that said, how would you change these strategies if you are acting as an employer leader and not a manager? None of the advice is specific to managers, but some seem a lot more difficult without management authority.

    And how does that change if you have no management support? Or is it even possible then?

    Not so much active opposition, but rather management simply does not see mentorship (or mentorship in your area) as a priority. Is your first task to have the culture of mentorship talk with the different managers involved?

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      Yeah, I do think you need this to either come from the manager or have the manager fully bought in — you’re talking about changing a culture, and it’s really hard to do that if the manager isn’t fully on board.

      1. nofelix

        Also these things take time to execute as you mention in the article, and one generally can’t allocate time without manager authority.

  2. Prismatic Professional

    The atmosphere of we-help-each-other-in-all-the-things is the best thing about my team. I know our team is one of the best at the Company and it is all because we ask if we have a question and if we don’t know the answer we suggest a different person who might or refer it up to my manager and she takes over from there. No judgement, no muss, no fuss. Manager says we make her job super easy. :-)

    1. AcidMeFlux

      I’m an EFL teacher, and my best jobs have been based in a kind of mentorship, with peer-review, peer-support, and an established relationship between new teacher-senior teacher. In other jobs where this structure doesn’t exist, I’ve found that many of us carry on this system informally to the point where eventually it does become a more formal part of the job. And best of all -contrary to the bad rep academia has for power trips and backbiting – jobs that involve mentorship and cooperation are much healthier environments.

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