Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Mentoring - the short cut road to Organizational Culture

Mentoring has been a sure safe method for perpetuating culture in prime educational institutions, particularly Engineering Colleges, Medical Colleges or the Management Institutions. In schools, that are referred to by their students, with pride and love, you will always note that there is an undercurrent of strong mentoring influences, by teachers, as well as the senior students. Alumni and students of many such institutions will be communicating to each other in social forums, discussing issues from school festivities to parliamentary debates. We can see distinct patterns of cultural trends in such casual talk. In organizations similarly, mentoring can be an effective and fast method to nurture the organizational culture. 

Mentoring can be formally and consciously resorted to by senior management. Alternatively, the organization may promote an informal but enthusiastic mentoring by the senior employees, out of camaraderie and good will. 

Mentoring is not training. Sometimes organizations will confuse mentoring with training. In an effort to mentor, they may schedule for regular and unnecessary management trainings. Technical subject experts, programmers or analysts would do well to opt for technical trainings rather than ambiguous management work-shops. Mentoring is not training; it is definitely a learning process, however, unlike a training, in mentoring the relationship is two way and both the mentor and mentee have the collaborative responsibility of the progress of the mentee. 

The prime attributes of mentoring are the responsibility and accountability of the parties involved and the defined or understood goals of the mentee. Consider for example the Indian Institutes of Technologies. The mentors and mentees know that the mentee must attain a level of technical skill and proficiency and professional attitude. The acumen to excel is a goal understood and decided between the mentor student guide and his mentees. This mutual understanding of the need of the new student, makes it easy for the mentor show his mentor how to go about academic goal-setting in a disciplined and focused manner. 

At work, in an organization too, mentoring is about being able to get the new recruit to be able to focus his abilities to achieve the best results. Both the mentor and mentee must understand the abilities of the mentee, special and unique from those of his other colleagues. Accordingly, both mentor and mentee could collaborate to find the strategy for the new employee to give his best to the organization.The mentor will also help to quickly introduce the new joinee to those non-formalized conventions and practices that go to define the distinct flavor of each corporate organization.

The modern day organizations depend hugely on team work. Mentoring is one of the ways to ensure that friction from lack of understanding of the company culture is avoided. Usually, senior members from a different team or the same team can come in handy for such roles of mentors. 

An employee, who has had a good mentor at the onset of his professional career, will usually turn out to be a better mentor than one who had no such experience. It is like blessings, easy to pass on, once you have been at the receiving end.

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