Reverse mentoring involves typically more junior individuals with high levels of knowledge mentoring more senior individuals in relation to certain topics including: IT, social media, culture, LGBT, disability, ethnicity and mental health.Summary by The World of Work Project
Mentoring typically involves a more senior and experienced individual sharing their advice and guidance with a more junior individual. Reverse mentoring, however, involves more junior people mentoring more senior people in relation to specific areas in which the more junior individual is more knowledgeable and experienced.
Reverse-mentoring areas of focus could include information technology, social media, culture and community or diversity strands such as LGBT, Disability, Ethnicity or Mental health.
Things to look for in a reverse mentor
While reverse mentoring can be highly effective, it’s very important to identify the right people to be reverse mentored by. Many individuals will want to take on the role, but not all of them will be well suited to it. When considering a reverse mentor it’s worth reflecting on the following traits:
- Experience & knowledge: Good reverse mentors know more than you about their specialist area
- Honesty & integrity: Good reverse mentors demonstrate integrity in their actions and will be honest with you
- Passion: Good reverse mentors are passionate about their specialist area
- Motivation: Good reverse mentors are motivated by improving your organization, not simple personal gain
- Chemistry & trust: Good reverse mentors will be people who you can trust and get along with
- Courage: Good reverse mentors will have the courage to challenge and tell you the things you need to hear
- Communication: Good reverse mentors are patient in their communication and will help you learn from the beginning
- Role-model: Good reverse mentors are role-models in relation to their specialist area
- Positive: Good reverse mentors see opportunities bring positivity to your interactions
The World of Work Project View
Having a good reverse mentor can be a great way for senior leaders to learn about new areas from which they are otherwise removed. It can be particularly helpful with cultural and people related areas such as the diversity strands. Reverse mentoring is also an excellent way for leaders to get closer to their target customer base. We recommend reverse mentoring where possible.
Sources and further reading
Where possible we always recommend that people read up on the original sources of information and ideas.
This post has been informed primarily by our experiences over our careers and does not reference any specific sources.
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