Mentoring Helps You and the Business
A Successful Partnership
Samantha: A mentoring partnership works when two factors are in place: good leadership demonstrated by the mentor and the capacity to learn by the mentee. However, to make it truly work for either person, the two must have a strong workplace relationship and mutual respect. Also, there must be a clear understanding of what’s expected from each of them to make the mentorship successful. Being the mentee, I have to be open to receiving feedback, whether positive or negative, which can be hard. But, mentees – including myself – have to remember your mentor is only trying to help, providing actionable advice on how to better yourself professionally and personally.
Doug: It’s a two-way street for sure. As a mentor, you must be sensitive to the needs of the mentee and keep in mind their ability to take on the feedback in an open and honest way, as sometimes it’s the hard truth that needs to be shared. It’s not only about giving praise for a job well done, but it’s also important to have the right forum and a trusting relationship to allow for the tougher conversations to help them improve and identify skill weaknesses. And on the other hand, I, as the mentor, also gain great benefit learning from Samantha and my other mentees, who have fresh ideas and new ways of looking at a problem - that is the innovation that really improves our business.
I’ve been lucky to have multiple mentors in my life, including Doug, and because of their guidance I’ve been able to accept a promotion, going from a buyer to Supply Chain Costing Manager. Other than the ‘reward’ outcomes, I’ve also grown my skillset. By observing my mentors and getting the opportunity to try new things with them, I’ve been able to refine my communication skills with our customers and build my confidence, taking ownership of decisions and the results of those decisions. Also, I now have a support group to seek guidance from when I have new ideas on how to help the Jabil business.
For me, the satisfaction in being a mentor is both personal and a definite benefit to the business. It does take a substantial amount of time and thoughtful effort to positively impact someone else’s career. I’ve been late to dinners or have worked longer hours because of the time I dedicate to my role as a mentor, but it’s always worth it in the end. By prepping our next generation workforce, like Samantha, a mentor has the chance to improve the company and bring new, innovative ideas to the table, which makes the role of helping someone else’s career very rewarding.
One thing that I remember very well was a conversation Doug and I had about believing more in myself. I discovered that the only thing holding me back was myself, and that if I gain more confidence, I will be able to achieve better results in my job. Every discussion we had was about growing my career and learning that embracing the feeling of accomplishment will impact my life as a whole. And I hope to share the same message to someone else one day, as I look forward to taking on a mentoring role to younger employees.
I think it’s important to mentor because careers continue to evolve and with that, the mentee’s needs change. I’ve learned that not every person is ready for a mentor relationship and as a result have seen some fail to bring the full benefit to each person. Not everyone is ready to initiate deep conversations, welcome feedback and put in the work to grow themselves. But for those who are ready for that commitment, it’s without a doubt, worth every minute.