A sound management practice called “reverse mentoring” can add wings to a business. Reverse mentoring is all about gaining insights from a junior employee and thus it is a reverse process of the typical mentoring wherein the elders teach their juniors.
There is no doubting the fact that the success of a business organisation rests on the foundation of inclusive performance of its employees (juniors and seniors alike) and therefore reverse mentoring is a tool that calls for universal acceptance in the business world. The younger strata of ambitious employees naturally work with more vigour and zeal to achieve. Even if they lack practical knowledge, they make good with theoretical reasoning due to the fact that they are guided and tutored amid an ambience of recent developments. Therefore they possess the ability to equip their seniors with their recently acquired, updated knowledge. Further, the potential to grasp details of recent happenings in the area of technology (particularly the digital technology) is more among young minds. Even their reflexes work at a better pace.
3 common challenges in reverse mentoring
Reverse mentoring can create a threat to the ego of a senior employee and this hinders the course of its success therein. Senior employees have their ego due to their experience and better practical knowledge and they find it hard to take lessons in business from their subordinates.
The fear of losing out to a junior
Smart suggestions from a young or new employee often attract appreciation and rewards from the organisation’s management. A trail of such suggestions can make a senior employee feel “threatened” wherein he foresees a possibility of the junior employee rising above his rank during his tenure.
An overdose of reverse mentoring can develop a state of lethargy for a senior employee. It could hinder his own development, if he gets habituated to taking insights from his subordinates repeatedly. This can cause trouble for him, should a demand for his self-crafted expertise arise.
Thus reverse mentoring is a healthy management practice but only if administered in measurable amounts.