Working in a startup has helped me learn faster than ever before and empowered me to do things I couldn’t have imagined. Startup culture is amazing and that’s what attracts people to join startups rather than well known companies with thousands of employees. Been there, done that, no thanks. Besides working fast, being agile, and all that focus on product&market fit, I believe that key part in a startup culture is mentoring. Learning from someone else’s experience, being guided by others, actively listening to your coworkers and understanding their point of view is what truly brings professional growth and empowers people to do great things.
Unfortunately, not everyone believes that mentoring should be a part of their work. Most people say that they don’t have the time to do it, or that there’s nothing they can give to another person besides a few practical tricks. Here are 5 reasons why I think everyone should find some time and be a mentor.
1. You will learn something new too
Mentoring is a two way street. While actively mentoring, you’ll find yourself explaining things a lot and remind yourself that your notion of basic knowledge has changed a lot over the years. Also, you’ll understand someone else’s point of view and maybe even find a better approach to solving a problem you’ve already solved. Sometimes, you’ll come across a problem you can’t solve straight away, and you’ll have to teach your mentee how to develop and apply problem-solving logic. Your mentee will be a constant reminder that everything can be learned if you keep a positive mental attitude.
2. You will gain confidence
By navigating people through waters you’ve sailed so many times before, you’ll remind yourself that we all feel insecure when doing something for the first time. As soon as you help someone solve a problem you’ve encountered so many times before, you’ll feel confident that you too can solve almost anything that crosses your path. A problem that was as huge as kraken a couple of years ago is now as small as a squid. So, what’s stopping you from attacking the present-day kraken?
3. You will become a better communicator
By constantly giving feedback you’ll learn how and how often to praise someone, but also how to bring bad news without hurting your mentee’s feelings. Being assertive is key to being a great mentor and a coworker. I strongly recommend reading — Radical Candor .
4. You’ll feel closer to your coworkers
Being a mentor is usually seen as one-on-one relationship. That doesn’t have to be true and you can have multiple mentees from all over the workplace. You can teach your coworkers how to handle stress better, how to remain calm in unpleasant situations, how to accept negative feedback and keep an open mind. By understanding how your coworkers feel and why they react in certain way will help you form a stronger relationship. Also, being open towards their feedback and finding areas where you can improve can’t hurt, right?
5. You will learn how to trust others
By watching your mentee/mentees grow, you’ll find it easier to hand over more serious tasks you’ve been tackling to them, and shift your focus on more pressing matters. After all, we’re all on a journey of constant growth, and how can you grow unless you let someone take things over, so you can go further. You don’t want to micromanage everyone, do you? Maybe you’ll start seeking a mentor for yourself and put your “I know it all” guard down, since that’s the best way to learn something new, right?
To sum it up, I see mentoring as a great activity that brings people together, empowers them and helps them grow. What do you think about it? (You can just clap and share if you agree but are too shy to comment.)