By 2025, millennials will make up 75 percent of the workforce – yet just 29 percent of them are truly engaged in their jobs. So what is the key to improving employee engagement in this next generation of leaders? Encouraging their personal and professional development through mentoring. Millennials want their work (and lives, for that matter) to have a deeper purpose, and a mentor who can help them lean into that purpose can play a critical part in improving their engagement at work.
But mentoring relationships are often seen as a one-way road that favors the mentee, who seemingly has everything to gain from an experienced mentor’s successes and mistakes. So what about the mentor?
As it turns out, mentors can gain just as much as mentees – if not more – from investing in a mentoring relationship. EDGE mentor Julie Weisenbach recently shared with us, “I have learned more from [my mentees] than I am sure they are learning from me. We all have similar situations and challenges no matter what industry or role we are in. It has been great to share my personal experience but also help them in navigating their careers and successes.”
Here are three key ways that mentoring benefits the mentor:
You learn to practice what you preach
While mentees are often the ones seeking guidance in the relationship, mentors shouldn’t forget that it doesn’t hurt to take their own advice, too. Chances are, you and your mentee are both walking through personal, professional or spiritual situations where the same guidance can be applied to both of you.
Mentees can teach you something, too
Mentors are in a great position to step back and see the bigger picture of what’s going on in a mentee’s personal or professional life, but it’s important to remember that mentoring is a two-way street. You might have 20 more years of experience, but your mentee might have a fresh perspective that you haven’t considered before.
Mentoring helps your own development
Regardless of your job title or industry, mentoring others will inevitably grow your leadership capacity. From giving and receiving feedback to active listening and providing guidance, the skills you learn through mentoring relationships can challenge you in ways that will advance your career. One major benefit that EDGE mentors experience is simply learning how to better engage with millennials, because chances are, they have children who are the same age, are leading teams of millennials at work or are interacting with them within their churches or communities.
As EDGE mentor Stacy Preston explains it, “Just listening to [my mentees] talk about mistakes they’ve made, family issues and all of that – it makes me think about my daughters and how I can be a better mom to them when they reach those points in their lives. From a professional perspective, I’ve been learning a lot about these girls who are part of a different generation than me, and I think that will help a lot in the workplace.”
Outside of your development as a leader (and maybe even transcending all other benefits), mentoring fuels your sense of purpose. The opportunity to share your experiences with the next generation gives even more meaning to the career and the life that you’ve worked hard to build.
If you’re a mentor, how has your mentoring relationship added value to your personal or professional life? Comment below or share your mentoring story with us here!