29. Jan, 2015


Mentoring At Workplace

Those of us who in our business or personal lives have successfully walked the path and feel that we have accumulated enough relevant experiences that we honestly think could enrich and develop the lives and careers of so many others then we should not hesitate to become willing mentors to transfer those valuable skills, knowledge and insights. The experiences that we decide to transfer could be either of technical, managerial or personal nature depending on the need and aspirations of our mentees and our own strengths.

Sometimes the line between my failures and successes was so fine that I scarcely knew when I passed it. In fact it was so fine that I was often on the line and did not know it. As a teacher I was giving all I had to make the people around me transform their activities for the better living and organization. As an administrator I kept coaching and motivating young people in the community as well as at the various workplaces that I was actively involved. The only reason I had some success was that my audience believed in me and I had a lot of respect for their quality performance. Therefore, I had a strong desire or deep willingness to spend some of my valuable time with someone else, more particularly my colleagues and companions. I constantly reminded myself to stay positive, to remain motivated and to continue to grow and develop my own knowledge and skills. When I look back to my early work life I firmly believe that the process of mentoring has helped and enriched my life a lot more than my any of my mentees.

Mentors, coaches, guides, motivators and the like have made a lot of difference to the lives of people; young and old, students and academics, players and athletics, artists and performers from time immemorial but the greatest power behind this innovation has always been the people themselves, the mentees. The people, who took careful notice, attentively listened to get up and go and change their attitude to bring those needed transformations in their lives.

During my entire life I liked sharing whatever accumulated ideas I had with my friends, relatives and family members. These sharing and caring or advisory roles that I inadvertently developed gave me great pleasure because these turned out to be of mutual benefit for me as a mentor and later for all my mentees at various workplaces. The effective transference of these valuable competencies, skills, knowledge and insights went a long way to expand and increase my own motivation, horizon, development and the general growing up.

I knew that I needed a little more persistence, a little more effort, some proper assurance and above all a lot more confidence to be successful in my challenging venture. I did not want to be over- confident or be a big ego but believed in challenging and assisting all my mentees with my sincere critique as well as a variety of open ended questions to help them form their own valid conclusions, think and act and to look at their own future situations with a new perspective. I was a good listener for all my mentees and after carefully observing their body language and keeping good eye contact, I constantly asked my mentees to tell me why they had chosen a particular path or an answer or a conclusion.

I now think that my strengths in succeeding at this special responsibility were some of the following:

  • I valued what they were thinking, doing and saying;
  • I did not unnecessarily interrupt them;
  • I was adequately patient and willing to delay my judgement; and
  • I felt honoured to provide my mentees with regular feedback of their progress and improvement.

Thus in the four decades of my managerial duties I was able to adequately transfer relevant information, some of my competence and almost all of my experience to many of my mentees so that they could make full and good use of those and they could gradually discover themselves to build their own enjoyable and rewarding career with confidence.

If in some small ways I was able to encourage, nurture and provide support to my fellow workers and colleagues during my work life, I consider myself fortunate because in the final analysis I have been the greatest beneficiary of this innovation. I felt that I was needed at my workplace and that I was doing something useful and necessary as an essential ingredient of human resource development.

I am confident that if anyone decides to become a mentor at any workplace they would not only join in an innovation that will expand the skill base, build strong teams, strengthen apprenticeship programmes but develop and take their entire workforce to a new height of excellence. Wish you all the best if you have the desire to assist the workforce. Let them feel that you have walked the path and are ready and willing to show the light to others as your managerial responsibility. Good Luck.

Dr Ram Lakhan Prasad

January 24th 2015.   TOPS/RLP-24/01/2015