When the Postdoctoral Program Office started the Postdoctoral Mentoring Program almost seven years ago, one of the most common questions we would get was, “So, how does mentoring work?” While fundamental in nature, this is actually a good question.
Some people are just naturally good mentors. For most of us, it helps to have an idea of where and how to begin. It’s no wonder then, that the internet abounds with advice, resources and guidance for mentors and mentees. One of my favorite sites for information on mentoring in the business world, Management Mentors, even has a list of “commandments” for mentors and mentees.
It is not my style to command anyone to do anything, but I am a fan of checklists and tip sheets. Whether you are a postdoc or staff, in a research role or administrative role, mentor or mentee, etc., there are overarching themes that are important to building effective mentoring relationships. Some of the essential components are setting expectations, assessing fit and maintaining good communication.
We’ve covered these concepts in past workshops and JumpStart presentations and will continue to build on these concepts. In the meantime, take advantage of the checklists for mentors and mentees at the Leadership Institute’s Mentoring page.
If you have a good tip, article or anecdote to share, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can share it with the Argonne community.
Now go forth and mentor!