The Student Becomes the Teacher: Reverse Mentoring for Millennials

October 22, 2018 in Career and Job Search Tips



“Experience is the best teacher.”

Really? The expression may apply to school yard lessons, but definitely not to reverse mentoring.

In recent years, leading food & beverage employers have begun realizing the benefits of “mentoring up” – in which high-performing (albeit less-experienced) professionals mentor senior managers or executives.

Why is reverse mentoring gaining popularity?

With as many as five generations working side by side in today’s workplace, and millennials expected to comprise one-third of the global workforce by 2020, leaders are challenged with finding new ways to:

  • bridge generational gaps;
  • facilitate the upward transfer of tech knowledge;
  • maintain a healthy organizational culture;
  • and manage employees’ shifting expectations.

To help, executives are increasingly turning to their younger colleagues for insight and guidance. The challenge, however, is getting young food & beverage professionals to step up to the plate and assume the mantle of mentorship; lack of experience, seniority and confidence frequently prevent millennials from rising to the occasion.

Think you’re too young or inexperienced to become a mentor?

Get over it! You’re more qualified than you may think – and becoming a mentor is great for your career. Here are just a few of the benefits you can gain by mentoring up:

  • Increase your confidence. Acting as a mentor for a more senior professional will absolutely make you uncomfortable. Make that work to your advantage. Growth occurs outside your comfort zone; challenging yourself to be a teacher rapidly builds confidence in your skills and potential.
  • Improve your job performance. Mentoring provides incredible opportunities for you to: hone your leadership skills; develop active listening techniques; build strategic thinking abilities; broaden your perspective; and more. Listen to the feedback your mentee provides and look for ways to learn from them, too.
  • Build your reputation and network. When you mentor up, you instantly heighten your internal visibility and quickly develop a reputation as a growth-minded contributor. As your mentoring relationship strengthens, ask for introductions to members of your mentee’s professional network (both within and outside your organization).
  • Increase your earning potential. Research cited in this article shows that mentors were 20% more likely to get raises and six times more likely to receive promotions. Another study cited by shows that mentors had $25,075 greater compensation growth over a two year period than colleagues who did no mentoring.

Related Posts:

Get in the Fast Lane: Accelerate Food & Beverage Career Growth with a Mentor

Eenie Meenie Miney Mo: How to Select a Food & Beverage Mentor

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