Source | LinkedIn : By Gerald Hassell
The concept of reverse mentoring, which flips the scripts on traditional mentoring, is simple: a leader is paired with someone early in their career to benefit from their deeper experience of newer technologies and current trends.
Even the CEO can benefit from a reverse mentor. My mentor, Darah, introduced me to apps that improved my personal productivity and tech savvy and deepened my knowledge of social media. She also helped me better understand some of the collaboration tools that our employees use to perform their jobs.
But it was clear my mentor – with a degree in information technology and experience in software engineering and prototyping emerging technologies – had much more to offer. She also has a fresh perspective on careers and the workplace.
Soon, I was seeking her views on technology-related issues our company is grappling with, asking about her experiences with the company and seeking her thoughts on our culture. Our mentoring relationship has helped me make more informed decisions about how we support our employees, drive success for our clients and communicate more effectively.
More are following my lead. Our company’s reverse mentoring program, developed by our Women’s Initiative Network employee resource group, now pairs many of our leaders with mentors at a different point in their careers. It’s helping our executives gain generational perspectives that promote innovative thinking, and it’s helping cultivate future leaders by giving them a view to the C-suite and expanding their networks in powerful ways.
Some words of wisdom for my fellow leaders:
- Your title doesn’t make you the smartest person in the room.There’s a lot to learn from those at all levels. Are you listening? Are you encouraging others to speak up?
- Get out of the leadership echo chamber more often. Structured relationships like mentoring and reverse mentoring can help leaders keep their fingers on the pulse of the workforce.