Monday, July 28, 2014

Mentorships Are Important for Any Organization

It was my first semester in college; I had started as an aged student. I wanted to know about the clubs at the school and entered into the student leadership office. My first observation was that students were not running the office, faculty were. I secondly observed a flyer for The National Society of Leadership & Success and asked more about it. I was led to one of the back offices where I was introduced to Patrick. He was an older gentleman ripe with energy and enthusiasm; he was engaging and masterful at steering the conversation to matters of personal importance. I was sold immediately and joined the society as soon as I was eligible. I quickly bonded with Patrick, and somewhat with other faculty in the office. I spent most days in his office, after taking an officers position within the society. I witnessed Patrick mentoring 50 students, during my time with him. He had more influence on the students than any other faculty member I knew of. By the end of my second semester, Patrick was let go.

"Mentorship represents an individual commitment to seeking out, identifying, and developing in a variety of ways the leaders of the future—people who have the creativity, the intellect, the conceptual skills, and the personal qualities necessary to provide true transformational leadership in the challenging, ever-changing, and fluid environment of contemporary higher education." - Patricia Battin noted in her acceptance speech for the 1996 CAUSE Award for Exemplary Leadership and Information Technology Excellence

Mentoring is not viewed as an important aspect in colleges or in the workplace. While the concept is promoted, the connotation to possible mentors is get work done first and then if there is time left over you can act as a mentor. Mentorship is an important job that should take priority. Such a position has the implication of changing the lives of others and making them more productive in all aspects.  A mentor helps a person set goals, connects them to growth opportunities, helps them find resources, and holds them accountable. Schools can increase student success and see higher completion rates from mentored students (MENTOR.) Companies benefit by having well trained, informed, productive employees who have a better understanding of themselves within the mission of the company. Such employees also have a greater understanding of how the different departments function and when to utilize them to increase efficiency (ACCA.)

A mentorship program may be the biggest opportunity your organization is missing out on. It is a tough sell to the board of directors, but plenty of evidence suggests that more informed, and efficient employees, affect the bottom line. For schools, there is no excuse to do away with positions based in mentorship. Indeed, it may be the critical factor that prevents high completion rates. It is one thing to sing the praises of mentorships; it is another to actually utilize them.

"ACCA Workplace Mentor Guidance." ACCA: Global Body for Professional Accountants, 07 Jan. 2014. Web. 28 July 2014.
"The Value of Mentoring." MENTOR: Expanding the World of Quality Mentoring. Mentor: National Mentoring Partnership, n.d. Web. 25 July 2014.