Being a woman in any career can be hard – especially if you’re trying to move up the corporate ladder. It’s nice to pass on what you’ve learned to other people, even if he’s a young man who will eventually be your boss because he “just seems like a leader.” So here’s how to take him under your wing and teach him how to eventually tell you what to do!
Be willing to share skills, knowledge, and expertise that will serve him more than it has you.
A good mentor understands that mentoring requires time and commitment to help their underling in their professional development. So really go out of your way to give him the skills he’ll need to rise above you. The things you’ve learned along your journey won’t help you, because it’s far more infrequent for women to be promoted, but they will help him, an energetic young man “who reminds the CEO of himself.”
Demonstrate a positive attitude to reflect his reality.
You’ve dealt with a lot of obstacles as a woman in the workforce, but don’t limit your mentee by demonstrating negative thinking, especially because he will never face those obstacles as he quickly rises through the ranks and becomes your boss so being positive is actually pretty easy for him.
Set a good example by meeting your own professional goals.
You’ll want to show a mentee how hard work and focus pays off by meeting your own professional goals. Just keep yours more realistic than his – you wouldn’t want him to feel bad when he quickly outpaces you by cribbing the knowledge you’ve handed him and becomes your supervisor in a year!
Part of being a mentor is listening so that you can provide the proper advice and encouragement. You’ll want to lend a sympathetic ear when your mentee complains about dealing with a fraction of the career hurdles you’ve had to face. Also, maybe he’ll continue to seek your counsel when he’s your boss and allow you to chime in on his decisions, too!
It’s easy to get frustrated watching someone in the early stages try and fail. Especially when they are rewarded for it in spite of their obvious incompetence and are now your direct report and giving you a one-on-one about what you’re doing wrong. Try to remember how you many mistakes you made early on – or would have, if women were allowed to make mistakes!
Now that you’re sort of moving up, it’s time to help a man move up ahead of you! You can’t really afford not to. He’ll be your boss soon, anyway!