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The sharing of business knowledge and skills is shifting away from the master-disciple paradigm toward mutual mentorship that transcends position, gender and age. Mutual mentoring provides each colleague space to share ideas and learn from others. Mutual mentors support and invest in each other, even if they are from different generations or industries.

 

Most business leaders and professionals aspire to grow and better themselves. This is evident by the proliferation of books, videos, and conferences dedicated to personal development. The increasing popularity of these educational resources demonstrates that more individuals are committing to career and personal growth. However, more meaningful learning occurs when people come together and share with each other instead of merely listening to a teacher.

 

What does mutual mentoring look like? It can happen with seemingly unlikely allies, and it can happen quite successfully. These examples show the powerful synergy of sharing.

 

Cross-Generation

With five generations in our current workforce, we have vast stores of wisdom within our networks and spheres of influence. A treasure trove of insights on career experiences waits to be mined. Unfortunately, the more mature professionals have not always had a clear opportunity to impart their knowledge to the younger generations, nor have the newer workers been given an opening to share technologically efficient advancements with their elders. That is changing, though, and proactive leaders are fostering cross-generational mentorships that benefit everyone.

 

Cross-Function

Experienced employees can give historical insight and context while new employees can offer fresh perspectives on an organization. When these two groups forge mutual mentorships, enhanced understanding and unity of purpose result. Mentors may work in completely different levels of responsibility or function yet be able to provide counsel on projects and company politics. These relationships can be safe havens to discuss challenges and failures as well.

 

Cross-Industry

Professionals from different fields can offer different perspectives on situations peculiar to an industry. They can also share insights on universal issues such as human resource challenges, communicating with difficult clients, vendors, or bosses, and negotiating contracts. Gathering counsel and feedback helps empower fellow mentors to stretch themselves into new arenas.

 

Cross-Friendships

Some mutual mentorships are more organic than official, based simply on friendship. Friends who are successful or advancing in their careers can glean much from each other to grow personally and professionally. Close friendships help create an ideal environment in which to learn, love, and enjoy the journey of personal and professional development.