Mentorship offers invaluable benefits as it fosters a relationship between seasoned veterans and emerging talents, creating a path of transition between the past and future of businesses. Beyond passing industry wisdom, mentorship cultivates an environment of continuous learning, reinforcing professional development and nurturing innovative thinking within organisations.
Mentoring can take many different shapes and not only a senior professional mentoring a junior trainee. A mentor can guide a peer who needs assistance on an area through which the mentor has more knowledge on, despite having the same ranking. Mentorship can also take the form of ‘reverse mentoring’, where the mentor is more experienced than their senior.
Nonetheless, the weight of mentoring often remains an unspoken reality in professional circles and while it can bring job satisfaction it can also create what is now being referred to as ‘mentorship burnout’.
According to a study conducted by Asana, a US-based collaborative project management software for teams, seven out of 10 knowledge professionals suffer from either burnout or imposter syndrome, with 42 per cent experiencing both.
Questions, requests for advice and constant need of approval upon an already big workload can be distracting, tedious and time consuming, even if the mentor has a passion for mentoring.
Subsequently, mentor burnout can lead to lack of adequate guidance and support for the mentee, due to lack of energy or motivation.
So how can a mentor avoid mentorship burnout?
1. Mentoring with a purpose
The first recommended step is to have a goal, whereby the mentor is helping the mentee reach it. This will make the process more organised and the purpose clearer and more focused.
Additionally, the Harvard Business Review (HBR) recommends a mentorship contract that outlines expectations and when to end a mentor-mentee relationship.
2. Mentee teams
A company can welcome on board multiple mentees as part of a mentorship programme, some of which are made through schools and colleges. Mentoring many people at once can be overwhelming even for a team, therefore organising mentees into subgroups according to experience or expertise can be more efficient.
Each group can have a mentor leader that can dedicate time slots for questions, feedback and assigning work. On the other hand, the HBR has found that mentees prefer team-based mentorship since this will give them access to more advisors.
3. Practice self-care
Self-care can lead to more productive work hours. A refreshed mind is more efficient and able to think clearer.
Taking care of yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally is equally important to yield good performance at work even as a mentor. This can be done through adequate rest, physical activity and investing in hobbies and activities that help you relax and bring joy.
4. Seek support
Professionals on LinkedIn who spoke about the mentorship burnout recommended seeking support from other mentors, colleagues, friends, or professionals. Sharing experiences, challenges and successes can help whilst also asking for advice and feedback.
Others recommended that every mentor should have a mentor who not only checks their professional performance but also reviews their mental well-being.
5. Celebrate achievements
Recognising the progress and impact that a mentor had on a mentee can be very rewarding and serves as a reminder of all the hard work both parties put in it. Celebrating achievements can also take the shape of rewarding each other.
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