Why Mentorship Matters In Supply Chain … And How To Maximize It

Most people understand the value of finding a mentor. For young people or those new to an industry, a mentor can provide inspiration, guidance, a roadmap for success and the ability to expand their professional network.

However, being a mentor also offers several significant benefits for the mentors themselves and the organizations in which they work. That’s why it’s so important for experienced workers to become effective mentors.

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The Benefits Of Becoming A Mentor

More confidence: Mentoring allows experienced workers to share their knowledge and expertise in their field with young professionals. Reviewing these experiences allows mentors to reflect on their own careers and become a resource for advice. This can be tremendously empowering and a big boost to your confidence. 

Improved reputation: Volunteering to mentor a young professional will not go unnoticed by colleagues and executives, and it could be a springboard to new opportunities. This is especially true if you participate in mentoring programs 

Enhanced communication and managerial skills: By taking someone in under their wings, mentors have the opportunity to teach mentees how to advance in their career. This allows executive leaders to practice their managerial and communication skills in a more relaxed environment, which can facilitate career growth.

Greater job satisfaction and retention: Mentorship strengthens morale within a company. In fact, research shows that executives that serve as mentors report greater job satisfaction, leading to higher retention rates for their organizations. 

How To Become A Better Mentor 

Now that you know why you should become a mentor, it’s important to know how to do it well. Here are some tips:

Teach the skills and best practices that they can’t learn in school: Textbooks and lectures can teach supply chain professionals the ropes, but to truly excel in the field, hands-on experience is essential. Help your mentee learn the skills and tools that have helped you throughout your career.   

Encourage them: Encourage mentees by sharing your own accomplishments, your mistakes, and your insight. Your perspective could give them the motivation they need to tackle new projects at work or join industry groups such as ISM. This will also help mentees become more confident at work and help them advance their supply chain career.

Listen: Listening to the younger generation of supply chain professionals can give you an advantage in your own work. Getting a new perspective from a fresh set of eyes can help you solve problems and discover new approaches that you can apply in your own work. 

Recognize their accomplishments: The younger crop of professionals tends to get overlooked when it comes to their projects and accomplishments. Ensure that their great work gets recognized by colleagues so they have the confidence to continue to produce for your company.

There are many ways to recognize a talented young supply chain professional. For example, you can award a financial bonus, write a professional reference, or even give something as simple as a hand-written letter. Another unique way to show your appreciation is to shine the spotlight on them by nominating them for the 30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain Stars award

The 30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain Stars program is a joint partnership between THOMASNET.com and the Institute for Supply Management. It acknowledges young purchasing and supply chain management professionals for their passion, creativity and contributions to supply chain. Nominations for the 2016 class are open until December 1, so submit yours before the deadline. 

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