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  What is mentorship? Mentorship is “the voluntary developmental relationship that exists between a person of greater experience and a person of lesser experience,” (ADP 6-22). Mentoring can be done at any level regardless of where you sit in the organization. You can mentor up, down, or to the side of you. Input and feedback are valuable tools to understanding yourself, what you need to improve, and how to get where you want to go in your career. Mentoring can be conducted in an informal or formal manner. Whether or not you are the mentor or mentee,
the quality of relationship built will determine the level and time of commitment. First, let’s discuss the benefits of mentorship, second, the role of the mentor, and third, the role of the mentee.
The benefits of mentorship
Mentorship can work at any level with any service member or civilian. Mentorship improves the effectiveness of the individual, the collective team, and the entire organization. Other benefits of mentorship include; empowering employees, organization succession planning, and retention of quality employees. Mentorship is added value to assist you in traversing the choices and decisions in your career.
I joined the Army 34 years ago and I cannot remember anyone formally guiding me in my career. I had many informal mentors throughout my career that provided me the advice I
needed when I was making career decisions. As I progressed up the ranks from private,
COL Renee’ T. MacDonald
Noncommissioned officer (NCO), then officer, I constantly searched for opportunities that would lead me to personal and professional growth. Initially, I focused on developing my current occupational skills, then military and civilian education. I developed a plan to achieve my initial developmental goals. I have always sought after personal and professional developmental opportunities that would make me of more value and benefit to the organization.
As a previous General Schedule (GS) employee, I assertively researched opportunities through
the Human Resources department to discover developmental courses I needed to succeed. As a GS employee, there are several benefits of mentoring. Some mentoring benefits include; “employee
career development, leadership development, diversity mentoring, reverse mentoring, and knowledge transfer,” (Manson, 2015). Personal and professional development expands our collective strength as members of the team and propels our organization forward. If you desire to improve your skills in any functional or specialized area, ask a peer, supervisor, or superior for opportunities that will increase your proficiency.
Informal mentors are all around us in our workplace, at home, or at school. The level of mentorship is determined based on the need and relationship built between a mentor and mentee. There are mentor and mentee programs within some workplaces that can benefit individuals and the entire organizations. I learned early in my career, that I needed to be an active participant
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