The Mentor Manor

Posted by tngui79 on December 13, 2012 in Daily Rants, Management Theories |

In a handful of multi-national corporations, some employees find themselves stuck at a glass ceiling they can’t seem to rise above. In most instances, the reasons may well be due to internal factors (self). To correct the situation, the employee must internalise what is lacking and strive to improve, but more importantly, to be seen to have improved on that skillset so that they can be considered for higher postings and more responsibilities, better paying jobs, better benefits, etc. After all, working smart is better than just working hard!

However, in some situations, it is not the Mentee but really the Mentor that is holding the employee down, whether consciously or subconsciously. If you are finding it increasingly difficult to work with your direct superior due to clashing opinions on how to achieve a same objective, stop; and think. 

  • Do I know everything about the subject matter?
  • Do I have more information that my mentor?
  • Do I see something my boss doesn’t?
  • Have I shared it with superior?

 Two scenarios could spin out from this.

  1. Making the Boss look; Like a Boss.
  2. Infinite Loop
1. Making the Boss look; Like a Boss

Photo of Like a Boss meme

Like a Boss!

If we actively contribute to the success of our superior and chances are, if you are as effective as you believe you are, then sharing the information you see with your boss and enabling him or her to make a better informed and well rounded decision will surely give your boss a better chance of landing that promotion. If you are seen to be the highest contributor to your superior, guess who is next in line for their current job? 
2. Infinite Loop
The infinite loop refers to a sad situation where the scenario is exactly the same, the factors affecting the situation are almost identical, and yet the solution applied is always the same. Unless you’re attempting to conduct culture breakthrough and change management, this infinite loop will almost definitely lead to the same result as before.  When you find yourself in this situation, its time to move on. Put in that request for a transfer before you become ineffective and get written off.
There is no love lost for requesting a transfer, but the art of informing your superior is THE KEY. Explain that you find that you are unable to actively contribute and are ineffective in the current position and role, and that you want to continue to contribute to the organisation in a different position where you will be more effective. More often than not, the “Mentor” will understand and see this as an opportunity to:
A) Get rid of you but making themselves look good so they can find another more suitable replacement; or
B) For the more enlightened ones; realise they have been ineffective as your mentor and release you to better matched Mentors who can council and guide you.
In any given scenario, it is always good to build a contact list (aka “Mentor Manor”) of Mentors that have varied experience and experience in different areas. No one Mentor is perfect and all knowing, and it is always good to have a network of mentor resources you can call on when you need that reference check or need to engage a subject matter expert.

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