Being a mentor to an emerging potential leader is truly an honor. By virtue of being asked to mentor someone, it means you have achieved recognizable success and have gained experience worthy of being passed on to a mentee. However, many people shy away from the responsibility of being a mentor because they assume the time and energy required for the role will be a drain. What those individuals fail to realize is that while mentoring naturally requires you to give your time, energy, and advice, you also get many benefits in return.
- Give back—Helping build the leadership and professional skills of an emerging leader will help enrich that person’s life and define their path for future career success. It feels good to be an integral part of someone else’s success. Research has shown that the act of helping others releases endorphins which can elevate your mood and boost your own immune system. Giving back is good for your health!
- Learn new things—You certainly can teach an old dog new tricks. Just because you’ve been asked to mentor someone doesn’t mean you know or have seen everything. Mentoring a young leader may give you a reason to explore new leadership or communication techniques. In the process of mentoring, you may look at a decision making scenario in a new way or be asked to help solve a novel problem. You never know where you’ll learn your next life lesson.
- Remind yourself of successes—We all get in a rut from time to time and forget about our successes. Mentoring often creates the opportunity to share success stories. Remembering and sharing the highlights of your career may remind you of times when you conquered particularly difficult challenges. Recalling successes can boost your self-esteem and remind you of the steps you took to make an impact in the past.
- Create a legacy—Someday you will retire, but the lessons, stories, skills, culture, and ideas you pass on to your mentee will live on. Mentoring is a great way to continue making a positive impact on your organization and in your field long after you retire.
- Develop your organization—If you’ve invested in your company financially, you have an even stronger reason to mentor emerging leaders. By helping develop the talent in your organization’s succession pipeline, you’re also grooming the individuals who will direct the future of the company and your investments.
Mentoring someone else is truly a gift. By giving of yourself, you are helping a young professional realize their dreams and follow in your footsteps. Being a part of someone else’s success can re-energize your own work life and boost your self-esteem in ways that no other experience can. It’s undeniable that mentoring takes time and energy, but the rewards can be far greater than any paycheck.