Why your Company Should Offer You a Mentor

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A mentor is an employee – superior, junior, or a peer to you in rank - within your organization, acting as a resource to guide your career and offer support. This can mean emotional and social support, in addition to skill-related support; they also act as models for how to behave and motivate others. 

If we’re being honest, we all could use one. Here’s why: 

  1. You’ll be more successful.  Who can’t Organizations benefit with the development of stronger, more diverse and equitable networks. 

  2. You’ll make a friend. Mentors benefit as much as their mentees! Not only personal satisfaction and “giving back,” but also growing one’s reputation and learning. 

  3. Dynamic mentoring – a developmental network - is the wave of the teamwork-future. Groups of people mentoring one another provide appropriate, timely and diverse support to give each individual the most well-rounded feedback and coaching.  

Two Boston-area researchers, Kathy Kram and Wendy Murphy, identified three types of developmental networks: 

  • Multi-level: up, down, sideways – providing usefully different perspectives: people with influence, people being influenced, and people in similar roles 

  • Multi-relational: multiple people as part of a network, which broadens the opportunities for help 

  • Intra- and extra-organizational:” insiders help negotiate organizational complexities; people outside provide safe counsel and objectivity.  

Relationship quality is crucial. This is especially true for top leaders at the C-level and CEOs who often struggle to collect direct and honest feedback.  We learned quickly that diversity of perspective and experience adds tremendous value to our participants. 

Everyone belongs to the larger network we build across programs, but within a fellowship people organically develop their own sets of advisors and mentors to help them develop themselves and carry out long-range executive goals.

Murphy, W. & Kram, K.E. (2014): Strategic Relationships at Work. New York: McGraw Hill

Marietta Bryant