3 Strategies to Improve Two-way Mentoring of Millennials in the Workplace
“An instructor who cannot learn should not teach.”– Danita Bye
As a leader who builds leaders, informal two-way mentoring is one of the strategies for sharing your leadership, sales and business wisdom and insights with your emerging leader, whether they are at work or on the home front.
What is two-way mentoring? It’s an informal, collaborative willingness to learn from each other in order to grow one’s personal and professional capacity to lead wisely.
60% of the leaders expressed frustration in our Millennial Survey, wondering how to work with this new crop of leaders. Two-way mentoring is an approach that’s steeped in deep respect for each other and a willingness and humbleness to learn from each other.
What is your strategy to build your millennial leader so they can expand sales, grow revenues and ensure your business and predictable systems and processes will flourish in the future?
In our Millennial Survey, we ask business leaders to tell us what their first thoughts are when they hear “Millennials Matter” Tucked in between the frustration were a few visionary leaders who expressed hope, such as this survey participant:
“Millennials are our future leaders so we need to figure out how to engage them with our leadership team so they can grow.”
More and more experienced leaders are recognizing the critical need to equip Millennials to become confident, character-based trailblazers in their businesses.
The good news, based on my personal experience in mentoring young leaders, is this: Millennials want to be with honest, authentic leaders, plus, they favor a trusting, transparent relationship with their superiors.
I recently posed this question to a group of Millennials: “What can your boss learn from you?” Here’s a sampling of their responses.
Cooper: “We can teach you how to be more organized and efficient with technology.”
Toni: “Many Millennials have unique ways to do their work which even breaks into new markets.”
Danae: “Millennials like to see things progress. We can bring new vision on how things could be better and how things can progress.”
Millennials want to share their insights and expertise with their mentor.
Yes, there can be challenges in the mentoring process. Some call these red-flags, indicating the timing isn’t right. Minimally, they are yellow-flags, which means that there is foundational work to do. It seems to me that everyone wants help, but not everyone is willing to change. A willingness to change, grow and learn is foundational for a mentoring relationship to be beneficial for both parties.
Lack of Desire and/or Commitment: This is often a result of the lack of compelling personal goals. Work with your millennial leader to help him or her craft personal goals that are aligned with professional goals.
Insufficient Accountability: The result is that your millennial leader externalizes, plays blame games and takes on the victim role. Challenge your emerging leader to integrate the Set Aside Technique along with the power of “might” to stimulate creative options. Ask: “Let’s set aside this excuse for a moment – what might you do differently to get the results you’re looking to achieve?”
Low Coachability Quotient: The culprit, a know-it-all attitude, reduces one’s ability to learn. Encourage a teachable spirit by modeling your willingness to learn from your next-gen leader.
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Low-budget Relationship Capital: Without trust, no relationship can foster growth and success. Remind yourself to listen before judging; ask clarifying questions, and encourage your up-and-coming leader whenever possible. Most importantly, invest in your relationship capital by hanging out with your millennial in an informal setting where respect, safety, and trust can be nurtured.
Mis-Labeling: Dismiss all the negative stereotyped traits that are linked to Millennials. Instead, resolve to set aside pre-conceived ideas, spot the unique DNA, and search for the gems – your emerging leader’s unique gifts and strengths.
Start today to be more intentional in seeking out a millennial leader to mentor, whether it’s at work or on the home front. Two-way mentoring can help both your millennial become and you to better leaders, contribute to your own personal and professional growth.
Leadership Lesson: A two-way mentoring strategy can be as much of a growth experience for you as it will be for your young mentee.
Leadership Question: What is your biggest two-way mentoring challenge and how are you addressing it?
© Copyright 2017 Danita Bye