October 17, 2005
Fulfilling a Promise: Mentoring
Jonathan’s a new knowledge worker (KW). As his manager and as his friend, it’s up to me to help him become self-aware, but also develop business life skills and self-promotion skills. I promised to help him develop into a high functioning knowledge worker. Now, I need to start making good on that promise. We’ve been so busy “delivering” and doing high priority work for my job, but now I need to carve out time for him.
Identifying Areas to Develop
After diagnosing Jonathan, I determined that he was a little passive and too quiet about his accomplishments. Iâ€™ve noticed he fails to draw attention to his accomplishments. Heâ€™s a little too understated. He needs work on self-promotion. He’s accomplished a great deal since he started. He just needs to learn the delicate art of self-promotion.
I’m not referring to bragging or anything annoying like that. Jonathan should be communicating via email or in touch points with me what tasks he’s accomplished from his 100-day plan or other major objectives in the absence of regularly scheduled 1:1 meetings. He should also take advantage of meetings that include our CEO, Tom, when asked what for status updates.
Regular 1:1 Meetings
When I failed to have regular 1:1 meetings with Jonathan, I noticed his passivity and quietness over the past two weeks. We only saw each other three days a week for two weeks in a row, but I realized he never framed his completed tasks or accomplishments in terms of his 100-day plan or high priority objectives.
If I were in his shoes, I would have made a point to send an email at the end of the week, framing it that I was just checking in to give a quick update for the week. I would have been proactive by casually listing in bullets completed work and what I’d be doing the following week. I know Jonathan’s not a mind reader. This was a good wakeup to me. I must remember that he’s a newbie, whoâ€™s not used to the self-promotion touch point, cloaked in “I’m just checking in” or any other clever excuse for an email or phone call to me.
My Mentoring Action Items
I’ll get on this first thing Monday morning by checking in with Jonathan when I get into the office. I don’t want to blatantly “mentor” or “coach” him, so I’ll just ask him what he has on his plate this week. This gives me a chance to add anything that I think is missing. I’ll end the call with positive feedback for last week’s effort summarizing what I say was his accomplishments. On Friday, during our 1:1 meeting, I’ll make sure that I suggest that he start promoting his completed work in a stealth, but effective way.
The Smart Lemming Diary is a series that chronicles a journey of laid-off worker, who becomes a Vice President of Sales Operations & Marketing for a small entrepreneurial healthcare technology company. For previous entries in this series, click here. For the first diary entry, click here.