12 Habits of the Toxic Mentor
A light-hearted look at how NOT to mentor! However, there are some sound warning belles within these statements, as I have witnessed mentors doing some of these things and had to have a quiet chat to them to remind them about the key roles mentors play in the lives of youth.
- Start from the point of view that you – from your vast experience and broader perspective – know better than the mentee what’s in their interest.
- Be determined to share your wisdom with them – whether they want it or not; remind them frequently how much they still have to learn.
- Decide what you and the mentee will talk about and when; change dates and themes frequently to prevent complacency sneaking in.
- Do most of the talking; check frequently that they are paying attention.
- Make sure they understand how trivial their concerns are compared to the weighty issues you have to deal with.
- Remind the mentee how fortunate they are to have your undivided attention.
- Neither show nor admit any personal weaknesses; expect to be their role model in all aspects of career development and personal values.
- Never ask them what they should expect of you – how would they know anyway?
- Demonstrate how important and well connected you are by sharing confidential information they don’t need (or want) to know.
- Discourage any signs of levity or humor – this is a serious business and should be treated as such.
- Take them to task when they don’t follow your advice.
- Never, never admit that this could be a learning experience for you, too.
© Used with the permission of David Clutterbuck