How to Mentor Millennials

millennials-featuredGuest contributed by Sarah Landrum

Having a successful protégé reflects well on you and adds to the progress of professional women everywhere. So mentally brace yourself for the mentor/mentee relationship.

Remember what it was like to be an inexperienced person? Once you are mentally prepared to start molding a successful protégé, you must then prepare yourself for the patience it will take to get started.

Whether or not you had a mentor when you were younger, you can still relate to the feeling of being the new person in the office. As someone who has now been in the grind for years, you may have a tough time knowing where to start with your mentee. Well, think back.

When you were the new person, what qualities did you appreciate in your colleagues? Most likely, you wanted to work with those who:

  • Were patient with you
  • Answered your questions
  • Never treated you in a condescending way
  • Offered their assistance when they sensed conflict or concerns
  • Took a genuine interest in your work and well-being
  • Helped you to reach your goals
  • Took notice of things you did well, and made helpful suggestions on things they saw that could be improved

Now that you’re on the other side of the mentor/mentee relationship, you can make good use of these memories.

With your mentee, discuss expectations — both yours and theirs. Set goals. Pay attention to their progress. Give feedback. Be supportive. Offer advice, but also listen. And, most importantly, take a genuine interest in their work and well-being.

Appreciate Generational Differences

More than likely, your near-future mentees are going to be millennials. Like every generation, millennials have their own set of concerns, indignations, interests, goals and talents.
Millennials are generally tech-savvy, environmentally conscious, insistent upon equal rights, adventurous, innovative and generally more interested in finding meaningful work than the largest paycheck or the best job security they can get.

However, despite the differences between millennials and non-millennials, all of the millennial-specific qualities can be channeled toward the greater good of a business. It’s up to you, as a mentor, to find the benefits these qualities have to offer, and to guide your mentees to apply them correctly.

Parting Thoughts

No matter who your mentee is — man or woman, intern or new hire, millennial or baby boomer — it’s up to you to help them succeed. The best way to do this is to understand what it means to be a mentor. It takes patience, dedication and a genuine investment in their progress.

If you decide to take on the role of the mentor, embrace the qualities that make you uniquely successful and help your mentee to do the same. And, as you learn and grow alongside your protégé, know that you’re doing your part for the advancement of professional women.

(The views and opinions of Guest Contributors are not necessarily those of