What is a reverse mentorship? A reverse mentorship exists when a young, most times tech savvy millennial, “front line” employee is utilized to teach the more senior employee or employer new trends and mechanisms that may make their organization and job more effective and efficient. This newly acceptable route of team work is very prevalent in tech, media and entertainment based entities.
Many of us have at one point or another in our career participated in a mentorship program as a mentee or sought our very own mentor to help with the navigation of our career. It is common for many to formally or informally adopt someone within their industry to show them the ropes to the skip and the ropes to know. Most times this mentor has had at the least 5 to 10 years of employment seniority above the mentee.
Despite the common standards that may exist for procuring a mentor who has more work experience than you may have, in terms of years in the workforce, some employees and employers are now looking at and utilizing reverse mentoring as a means of gaining extra experience and knowledge within their field.
Many high level executives realize that they can learn a lot from younger employees. They are more up-to-date with new trends and can offer a fresher perspective on outdated resolutions that may no longer add value to the company. As such, companies, including, but not limited to Cisco, Johnson & Johnson, and General Electric have all developed both formal and informal reverse mentoring programs.
“In addition to training on the latest social media platforms, reverse mentoring gives executives more candid feedback than the highly-filtered intel they normally get, says Andrew Satter, founder and CEO of a New York-based executive coaching company. ‘Sometimes a younger and more junior person hasn’t learned what they can’t say,’ he says. ‘[They have] fresh eyes and fresh ears and a fresh tongue. They will say and share things because they haven’t swallowed the Kool-Aid yet.'”
Though the goal of a reverse mentor is to keep more senior level employees and managers abreast of new trends, younger millennials also get great feedback and wisdom from their older counterparts as well.
As noted within a recent Inc.com article, here are a couple of factors to consider if you believe reverse mentoring may help you:
1. Create and maintain an attitude of openness to the experience.
2. Dissolve the barriers of status, power and position.
3. Commit the necessary time.
4. Have a game plan and goal.
5. Define rules of engagement.
6. Actively listen.
7. Be patient.
Rashida Maples, Esq. is Founder and Managing Partner of J. Maples & Associates (www.jmaplesandassociates.com . She has practiced Entertainment, Real Estate and Small Business Law for 10 years, handling both transactional and litigation matters. Her clients include R&B Artists Bilal and Olivia, NFL Superstar Ray Lewis, Fashion Powerhouse Harlem’s Fashion Row and Hirschfeld Properties, LLC