How a Millennial Mentor Can Help You Keep Your Edge
You might be surprised by what younger colleagues can teach you
(This article appeared previously on MarketWatch.)
Many organizations expect their most senior employees to mentor the next generation of workers. If you find yourself in such a position, delivering hard-won advice to younger colleagues, stop and consider whether insight could also flow back in your direction.
Could one of your millennial mentees also be a mentor to you?
Older workers with decades on the job have invaluable experience and insight that younger employees hunger for. Just consider what years of experiential learning provide: An understanding of how your business actually makes money, the informal rules of how things get done — even the crucial sense of why things are done a certain way. No training seminar or online tool will provide the nuances that separate the successful from the merely productive; in a business world made of human beings, human insight is key.
(MORE: Why You Need a Reverse Mentor)
Yes, after working more years than many of your colleagues have been alive, you will have a lot to teach and they will have much to learn. But technology is changing faster than ever; convoluted three and even four-generation workplaces are becoming the norm; and, whether it's fair or not, the onus is increasingly falling on the worker to make the business case that he or she belongs in the workplace. In such a reality, it's essential to connect, learn, and mentor across the generations — and in both directions.
MIT AgeLab's Luke Yoquinto contributed to this article.