Divergent CIO

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Investing in The Next Generation of Leaders: The Importance of Mentorship

 

Investing in Mentorship

Not everyone can -- or should -- jump into their career headlong without a plan of where they're going. This is particularly true in today's competitive workplace climate. Mentorships can bridge that gap between emerging into a new career and becoming a successful leader in that field. In fact, research shows that quality mentoring relationships have powerful positive effects within personal, academic, and professional situations, ultimately connecting them to personal growth and development, as well as social and economic opportunities, according to the National Mentoring Partnership.

Investing in the next generation of leaders depends exponentially on the guidance of a mentor. All the book smarts straight out of college can't prepare graduates with the nitty gritty, on-your-feet-all-day, in-the-trenches work that makes up a CIO's day. As a critical thinking, people-centric, quick learning, impeccably organized and determined professional, you know yourself just how many years it took you to get where you are now. Couldn't you have used a mentor yourself? Someone to guide you, cut through the clutter, and offer insight that no college lecture hall can really provide?

The workforce is expanding in droves. More than one in three American workers today are Millennials, recently surpassing Generation X to become the largest share of the American workforce, says the Pew Research Center. Many of them are getting jobs in leadership positions, or at least poised to inherit them in the near future, leaving a real need for practical experience that can only be gleaned by forming a bond with a seasoned professional.

Defining a Mentorship

In a nutshell, a mentor is a more experienced, usually older, professional in a given field who offers younger, less experienced employees career guidance, advice and assistance from a real world point of view. Taking part in a mentorship not only enhances your professional capabilities, you get access to a wealth of knowledge and experience, and -- if you're lucky -- end up with a lifelong friend and potential future business partner, points out Forbes.

It doesn't have to be the standard model either. A mentorship could involve a younger person guiding an older person who decided to make a career change late in life. Whatever the mentor-mentee relationship looks like, at its heart, it's based on one person who's “been there, done that” showing a fresh-faced up-and-comer what the real deal is.

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