When I was sixteen, I was beyond ecstatic to inherit my parents’ fairly uncool, many-miled, pea-green colored, ’71 Oldsmobile Cutlass. There was nothing “happening” about the mechanical beast, but it represented something far more than the sum of its well-worn parts.
It stood for LIFE “my own way.” I couldn’t wait to drive off in it, and take on my own road, at my own speed.
Millennials, do you ever feel like that?
When you walk through the doors of your workplace, do you want to change the velocity, check out new sights, take out your latest tech tools and tinker with the system? Maybe even tear things apart and rebuild things a new way?
I bet you do.
And, I also bet that, when it comes to how you are mentored and mentor others at your job, you don’t want a tired, run-down, hackneyed “mentor program.”
You want to try out some untried twists and curves.
Mentoring millennials is different than your average, lazy Sunday afternoon drive.
So, at the risk of driving this hot car analogy off the track, I’ll suggest a few tips for you to make your mentorship the most exceptional drive yet.
Let’s imagine, for a moment, that you hold the keys, and can commandeer your mentoring experience any way you want. Follow the same rules of the road that you do when driving a car. Here goes, millennials.
START YOUR ENGINES
First step, right? YOU be the one to start things up. What do I mean by that? You initiate finding a mentor who is a great one for you. Check out my free e-book, How to Find a Great Mentor for YOU (Without Awkward, Aimless and Arbitrary Searching!)
If you’d like to be mentored, but don’t know how to find someone who might be a good fit for you, you can get some actionable tips that work right now from that.
Whether it is deciding what you want in a mentor, or actually asking someone to help you learn something new, you be the starter.
REV IT UP
What does “rev it up” mean? It means to step up, increase, make bigger or more.
Do that with your attitude. As you know, millennials sometimes take a bad rap. A recent CNBC.com article opened with, “Entitled, lazy, narcissistic and addicted to social media. Those are just some of the common complaints about millennials characteristics by their older colleagues.”
Really? May that NEVER be said about you! Besides, it’s not true.
When you start a mentorship, let your biggest, best outlook, and hopeful optimism shine. Be willing to do your part to make the connection a successful one. Put your energy into making it an engaging time for both of you.
PUT IT IN REVERSE
You know social media. You know technology. You haven’t known anything BUT that since as far back as you can remember.
Go ahead. Teach one of your “career-mature” colleagues how to do this stuff. Offer to show them how and then (patiently) explain what you did.
And do remember to be patient.
I know there’s a temptation to grab whatever electronic device from your mentee, because you can definitely perform the function faster, but remember, “Show THEM how to do it, so that THEY know in the future.”
There’s a decent chance your more career-mature mentee isn’t an expert in posting to Facebook, doesn’t see the value of an Instagram post to help their marketing campaign, or doesn’t understand how posting a selfie can cause a viewing audience to know them a little better.
They might even appreciate some coaching on how you and your colleagues see the workplace and the rest of the world.
Michael Jacobs, General Manager, Microsoft Norway, said, “Reverse mentoring helps me get insight into the next generation, who they are, what they value and how to communicate with them. I’ve never experienced anything like it in my career before.”
That’s a great endorsement for you to “put it in reverse.”
PUT THE PEDAL TO THE METAL
This is the fun part! Pick your mentor or mentee and GO. Pick more than one if you want. Just get driving and you will learn what roads to take and what works for you and what doesn’t.
So, keep calm and drive on.
Enjoy the ride.