Why bother? What are the personal reasons to make mentorship something you get involved with? Just what is a role model anyway? Well, generally speaking, a role model is a "person who serves as an example, whose behaviour is emulated by others.“
While its true that mentoring may lead to future personal payoffs, we know you're not at all concerned with that. This is your chance to give back, and leave the world a better place than you found it! You can learn as much from the person you are mentoring as they can learn from you, and you should never stop learning, right? Here are a few of the other benefits you can expect from a good mentor relationship:
- Learning: By serving as a mentor, you'll learn from your apprentices.
- Leadership: You’ll build on your existing leadership and management skills, possibly even gaining some hitherto undiscovered insight into your own strengths and weaknesses in the process.
- Recognition: You’ll receive recognition from peers and superiors. They will probably be more inclined to buy you drinks at conferences, cast admiring glances in your general direction and/ or wax lyrical about you whenever your name is mentioned in conversation.
- Achievement: You'll review and validate what you know and what you've accomplished in your career to-date. This may even lead you to indulge in some retrospective back-patting.
- Satisfaction: The Stones couldn't get none, but you probably will. You can expect to feel satisfied, proud, and energized as a mentor.
- Refreshment: You’ll get a new and fresh outlook on your own job, challenges and way forward.
- Networking: You'll get the opportunity to meet new colleagues and expand your circle of networking.
- Legacy: Watch your acorns grow into mighty oak trees that will live on long after you're gone.
Why be mentored?
It can really help you get where you want to be in your career if you have the opportunity to see someone who is where you want to be (maybe Bill Gates, Rasmus, Grace Hoper). There are other benefits to being mentored as well:
- Information: Mentors can help you learn complex tools or processes, review your work, and avoid or resolve problems.
- Advice: Mentors can share insights you didn’t even know you needed. Mentors can also help you understand your hidden strengths and weaknesses.
- Sponsorship: Mentors can help you find opportunities you may not hear about yourself, or convince people to take a chance on you. Mentors can also speak up for you when people are making decisions.
- Social interaction: Regular mentoring conversations can bring social interaction back into remote work.
- Networking: Mentors can help you navigate a large organization and find just the right people who can help you. This is also how you get good jobs and references, and move up in the world.
- Accountability: Mentors can help you commit to your goals and stay motivated.
- Stretching: Mentors can challenge you to grow and call you out if you’re slacking off. This is the most personal aspect of any mentorship relationship
- Insight: No matter how hard you try you can never truly see yourself as others see you. A good mentor can give you some perspective and valuable insight into how you are actually perceived. This can be a very powerful thing indeed.
Speaking of insight...do you ever feel like a phoney programmer? Feel like you're winging it, getting by on luck? Scared you'll be found out at any moment? This is commonly known as 'imposter syndrome'. The fact is, you are as good as you think you are, and a mentor can help you to see that.
Of course, you may feel insanely confident in your abilities as a programmer and never make mistakes...mercifully unburdened by thoughts that everyone else knows at least as much or more than you. This fascinating phenomena is known as the Dunning-Kruger effect. Briefly put, The Dunning-Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which unskilled individuals mistakenly harbour feelings of superiority and above average ability. Conversely, competent individuals may falsely assume that others have an equivalent understanding. Interesting, huh? No one person can know everything, and there's always something you can learn from others.