Are Mentors Still Needed In Today’s Workplace?


by Denise Felder

Career advisers and business leaders agree: Having a mentor is an important and effective way to increase your career success.

Students and new professionals in all fields are encouraged to find an experienced manager or employee to give them advice and guide them in their professional journeys.

“Mentors have not only taught me about what is important (both personally and professionally); they have also given me several big breaks,” startup founder Chris Myers said on Forbes.com.

Forbes Magazine is not the only influential outlet to promote professional mentoring.

HuffPost touts the Importance of Mentorship. And Inc. Magazine lists 10 Reasons Why a Mentor is a Must.

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Photo by Andrew Robles

A quick Google search uncovers thousands (literally) more examples of business consultants and career coaches telling job seekers and employees new in the United States workplace why and how to find a mentor.

The majority of the business people giving this advice are Baby Boomers or Generation Xers who place a high value on the opinions and knowledge of older, more experienced people.

The mentoring relationship they are promoting is also well suited for the “traditional” corporate office workplace. Today’s workplace is not the same as it was in the 1980s and 1990s. The economy, the workforce, and business structures has changed.

Has the need for professional mentoring relationships changed, too? Or do potential mentors and would-be protégés simply need to redefine leadership development?

Think about how your culture affects your views of mentoring.

How might professional mentoring relationships be perceived by immigrant students and new employees from countries other than the United States?

What about generational differences? How might age affect the goals and expectations of a mentoring relationship?

In today’s evolving workplace, is mentoring still needed? If so, what does a successful professional mentoring relationship look like?

Share your thoughts and experiences with us.

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