How does one grow to become a good mentor/manager to someone in the workplace?

This is VERY new to me, actually it's my first day managing/mentoring someone in the working world. I would love to get advice on how to go about it well so I can guide the people I work with through the coming months.


  • Make time to spend with people to get to know them and understand their motivations and where they want to get to.

    Then help them get to clarity around those goals, be they day to day as well as future ones, and how to get there. The key is giving time, investing in relationships and helping steer someone to get their themselves as opposed to telling them what to do.
  • Good question- Echoing everything the other great posts are saying here

    As a manager -

    Do the Steve Jobs thing, hire smart people and listen to what they tell you to do.

    Be humble

    And don’t be hierarchical

    As a mentor

    Be a good listener. Really listen.
    And make people empowered, they often know the answers or the way forward, they just have to be reminded of that
  • Start by asking questions and deep listening.

    Som great questions to start with are: What's important to them? What are their short and long term goals? What's preventing them from achieving those?

    From there, you can drill down into the best way to help them.

    I usually encourage my mentees to do behavioral assessments like DISC and discover their Values. These help a lot to discover more about how they operate in the world and what really makes them tick.

  • Hi Metty,

    Great question - and the fact you're asking it alone says to me you have the care and desire to be a great manager...

    My one, big tip is to reinforce a point thats made below; make sure you respect finding the time to really, deeply understand the person you are managing / mentoring. If you don't then you've got very little chance of knowing how you might be able to best support them

    The brilliant Ray Dalio wrote "I recognized that managers who do not understand people’s different thinking styles cannot understand how the people working for them will handle different situations, which is like a foreman not understanding how his equipment will behave"

    It's a heavy book, but an amazing one if you like the sound of Ray -

    Good luck :)
  • I'm with Pansy - mentoring and managing are different things. Managing is performance, mentoring is people. To be the best mentor I'd start by finding two or three people you respect or admire (and know you) and ask them for some help and advice on your journey. Then I'd find a couple of people who are much more junior to you at work and do the same exercise. Ask them what they would want from a mentor & what qualities they think you have to bring to the table. By investing the time up front to prepare yourself for the role of a mentor it'll pay back hugely in your confidence when you then start. If it helps I have a 'board of directors' (I know - it's a ridiculous title - but I thought it was clever when I was younger) who are ten people who keep me on my toes. They each play different roles (finance, digital, innovation, creativity, security, etc) and it keeps me focused when I'm mentoring others because they're always wise to spotting my blindspots.
  • As Penny points out on this thread. The two are very different roles in theory, at least despite their being a huge amount of mentoring required in any leadership position. That's where you earn the right to be seen as acting in your colleague's best interest. ( I hate the word management btw. It whiffs of control and optimisation). My best piece of learning about being in a position of responsibility for other people is this (from Adam Morgan of EatBigFish, with/for whom I worked long ago): your job as a "manager" is to help people get a better job next time.
  • Managing and mentoring are two different things. Both requires empathy. You need to switch modes depending on the situation.
    When you're managing you need to give clear directions for others to follow. Whereas when you're mentoring it is more about offering advice, giving them space to work out what's right for them. To let them grow and decide what's best for them.

  • I'm in a very similar position - if you're looking at managing people from a mentoring perspective, I'd look into 'leadership' over 'managing'. There's quite a few good leadership books out there to get advice from and then put into practice. It's all about respect and boundaries.
  • Take time to get to know them and their personality. Don't talk down to them. Just guide them

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