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The Middle ground called "Mentoring"

An  essential tool in people management in PR

In a knowledge-based industry as Public Relations, a firm is as good as its team members, individually and/or collectively, defined by their knowledge, experience and drive.

Our people are what make us a great place to work. They are smart and hard-working, and are dedicated to their clients and to their teams. It is our duty to retain them and to help them grow in their careers. It is also important for us to support  them to achieve their goals and aspirations within and outside the organization.

Through this article, I want to continue discussing which we discuss always inside the Boardroom on ‘Mentoring’. I think, there is so much to be learnt from the people around you, from people in your life, family, friends and colleagues.  I’ve also come to believe that in PR, mentorship is absolutely vital. It’s fundamentally a ‘people’ industry – hence, you have to know how to deal with different people, how to engage different audiences, how to support and develop clients, and most importantly how to support your employees and develop them, as well.

I can very candidly say that where I’ve grown the most in my career is in learning through other people’s experience, by talking to them and from their insights.  At the same time, in my mind, the key to a successful mentorship is taking each of our learning and using it to enhance our positive experience and through that influencing others. Through my journey in Communications, I have learnt that it is the unique middle ground, where you’ve gained insights from your mentors and are just beginning to impart your own insights to junior professionals. It’s an important tool for shaping the future of our industry.

Here’s a glimpse into what I have learnt through both being a mentee and a mentor.

Being a mentee

·         How to rationalize situations in which I don’t feel in total control
·         How to become more valuable to the senior management team
·         How to best support the executive team
·         What parts of the business of PR I need to become better at in order to shape the career I want for myself
·         How to set goals for me and my mentees
·         Developing an understanding of what makes a good manager and, on a separate note, a good mentor
Being a mentor

·         The pride ( as opposed to being egotistic) in feeling a small part of someone’s success
·         The pride for realizing I have useful wisdom to offer and enriching an other professional for higher calling of his / her duty
·         Connecting with today’s youth, understanding them and nurturing them with knowledge and experience
·         Further developing an understanding within myself of what makes a good professional and a good mentor
I’ve often urged people I work with to find a mentor. I had  several mentors in my life who taught me invaluable things.

The general process of any mentoring programme, should be :

1.      Voluntary participation of Mentees.

2.      Mentee + Mentor cross match. In fact, a mentee should have a choice to choose the mentor.

3.      Cross Function experience preferred.

4.      Programme to provide a structure  but, individual pairs ( Mentee + Mentor ) are free to choose their method of communicating, venue of meeting, time, frequency etc.

5.      After initial introduction , nil administrative and organizational interference in the interaction of a mentee + mentor pair (However, the overarching objective of the programme has to be for the growth of knowledge and  intellectual well-being of the Mentee and to make him / her a better professional).

6.      It has also to be made clear from the outset that the programme of Mentoring is not for conflict- resolution but a personal developmental programme.

( Devasis Chattopadhyay is a Sr. Vice president in Adfactors PR. Opinions expressed in this article is that of Devasis Chattopadhyay’s personal and no way reflect Adfactors PR’s opinion.)

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