Being a mentor is a unique privilege. Taking time to invest in the skills and growth of others is both noble and rewarding. Being an IT mentor is a great way to help employees grow in their chosen field while continuing to be an effective asset for the company. Here are some tips to be an effective IT mentor.
Schedule Time To Mentor
Mentorship doesn’t just happen. In order to ensure success, it needs to be scheduled into your week. It can be difficult to balance an IT workload with staff development, so scheduling it into your week helps make sure you have time to mentor your staff.
How much time you need to set aside depends entirely upon how many employees you’re mentoring, as well as what their needs are. Take time to evaluate how long proper mentorship for your employees should take and start there. You can always make adjustments later on if needed.
Create An Environment Of Growth
For the sake of this article, we will assume that you already have the necessary knowledge and IT skills to qualify as an IT mentor. Obviously, you’ll need to know what you’re talking about if you’re to invest and train others.
That said, use your abilities to help create an environment of growth. Mentorship isn’t just about character development. You need to make sure your mentee is given opportunities to learn new skills and practice what they’re learning. An in-house digital skills training program is a great way to work with employees and help mentor their abilities in the tech field.
Identify Their Needs
Another way to be an effective IT mentor is to identify the needs of those you are mentoring. Depending on their chosen career path, you’ll need to meet different needs. For example, Salesforce, Sitecore, and Adobe developers, while sharing similar skills, will all need to be mentored slightly differently according to their chosen profession. As the mentor, it is your responsibility to help identify these different needs and work to meet them.
Offer Constructive Criticism
Mentorship isn’t just about encouragement. Attaboys and good jobs have their place but fail on their own. Constructive criticism is a great way to point mentees in the right direction and help them improve on their current abilities.
It’s important to never be harsh with a mentee. Coming down too hard on a mistake or error is a surefire way to discourage them and possibly make them want to quit. Be encouraging, but be firm with pointing out problems and making sure they know what’s expected of them.
Allow Them To Make Decisions
As an IT mentor, you’re almost guaranteed to have more knowledge and experience than the mentee. This can lead to a desire to take the reigns and simply tell them what to do all the time. The problem with this is it breeds dependence rather than an ability to think for themselves.
As a mentor, make sure you’re giving your mentee opportunities to think through problems and make their own decisions. Allowing this in a controlled environment helps limit negative consequences from a bad decision. It also shows that they’ll be able to think on their feet and make good decisions when the mentorship is over. Decision making is a valuable part of IT mentorship.
This list is by no means exhaustive. IT Mentorship should never be taken lightly. It is an awesome privilege. Above all, listen to your mentee. Answer their questions, heed their concerns, and teach them in a spirit of humility. After all, you were in their shoes once.
Stay patent and know that you are effectively changing the course of their tech career through your influence.
How Can Techbridge Help?
At TechBridge, our goal is to bridge the gap between business and employee, matching qualified workers with the companies who need them. If you have any further questions or you’re interested in our staffing and recruiting process, contact us today!