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Why mentorship matters

SidneyAnne Stone is a freelance writer, Cancer survivor, Marathoner, actor and activist.  

Mentorship enables us to nurture the budding potential of new generations.

female coworkers collaborating

Photo credit: PNC/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Mentorship provides the workforce with an endless supply of skilled workers, but perhaps more importantly it enables us to nurture the budding potential of new generations. To all of those who have complained about changes to the workforce and a perceived lack of work ethic in younger generations, I ask, what have you done to prevent it? Who have you mentored lately?

As professionals, the most powerful tool we have in our arsenals is mentorship. Many shy away from mentoring others for fear that those they mentor will later become competitors. Some just feel it is simply too much work in an already overworked society. Without solid mentorship programs, there is little room for succession planning. When we used to think of succession planning, we would think of family businesses being passed down from generation to generation. However, this is about preparing someone for your role, which will enable you to move on to the next phase in your career as well.

We all have a responsibility to share our knowledge with others. I feel particularly strongly about this issue when it comes to women. It is imperative that we look out for one another, don't get caught up in competition, and support one another. We should all be trying to help each other achieve greatness because a huge accomplishment for one woman is a huge accomplishment for us all in the bigger picture. Furthermore, I strongly believe in giving back. If we are fortunate enough to enjoy success in our careers, we should make every effort to help others attain that as well.

Being a mentor is not always easy. It is, I would imagine, a lot like being a parent in some ways. Sometimes it can be frustrating, disappointing, or tiresome, but for the most part it is incredibly rewarding and fills you with a sense of pride. Watching someone you have mentored grow and develop into the successful professional that you have always believed was in there is a beautiful experience to witness, and one that will stay with you throughout your career… and theirs!

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