I was captivated and enchanted.

I watched the grandfather patiently spend an hour teaching his 8-year-old granddaughter how to clean a fresh caught crab.  There were 17 of the crustaceans … a very good day at Nehalem Bay on the Oregon Coast.

He passed on the skill as an old crabber to a new one.  One generation to another. And you saw the delight on the child's face.  Her enthusiasm was contagious as she listened patiently to the wisdom of her grandfather.  At times she rushed the process, leaving meat on the crab legs, at other times she was hesitant, afraid to take the crab in her hands.  But in the end with smiles on both their faces, she exuded pride in her new skill.

It made me think of how easily and naturally grandparents take on the responsibility of passing on their knowledge to the grandchildren. Yet in the workplace it is the exceptional manager who deliberately takes a portion of their time each week, each month, to mentor employees.

It is a critical and essential role for the Conscientious Leader. 

A favorite Harvard Business Review article makes a compelling case for mentoring:

“ Mentorship delivered in an authentic manner creates an “I care about you culture.” The first step is just having mentorship as part of your people development strategy. This does not need to be a complex, bureaucratic HR-department process. It should be something people know is embraced as part of the ethos of a firm.”

Mentoring is a close cousin to coaching.  Sometimes it’s hard to discern the line between the two.  Both create a win-win experience of sharing without ego, learning and entrusting knowledge and expertise to others.

It’s a value embraced in conscientious organizations. 

And why is this good? Simply because it demonstrates a sincere and humble willingness to “pass the baton.”  That we are all in this together and it’s not just about me. 

Such coaching or mentoring helps the "student" because it:

·         Encourages the individual to excel and try new things through encouragement

·         Assists with problem-solving and generates creativity

·         Generates self-confidence

·         Provokes self- reflection

All good stuff in a workplace!

And for the person doing the mentoring...you win too!   Our brain rewards kindness and giving to others by releasing hormones that make us feel good. And it may enhance your own job satisfaction, knowing you are training and seeing others succeed because of your wisdom. 

I particularly like coaching and mentoring young graduates, breaking into the job market.  I never turn down an informational interview if referred by someone I know.   Nothing gives me more fulfillment than seeing someone “get a step up” through some tip or piece of advice I provided.

So today even if you are extremely busy…dedicate at least 3 hours a month toward mentoring.

Do it for others, do it for yourself.   Pass it on! 

To get our book, "25 Building Blocks To Create a Conscientious Organization" free, go to HCollaborative.com for an instant download.