Mentoring for all employees – whether or not they are women in tech – provides:
- A means of support and encouragement.
- Guidance and motivation to learn new skills or gain new experience.
- An insight into professional development.
- Opportunities to recognize and pursue upward career growth or mobility.
In addition, mentoring holds a unique role for women in tech because it’s another way to gain access to opportunities in a business environment that is often still male-dominated.
Beyond technical and career guidance, mentorship benefits women in other areas of personal development. Growth in these areas can contribute to the advancement of their technical career.
Mentoring from those already in leadership positions is valuable to those employees intent on learning and developing leadership skills. By interacting one-on-one with those established in leadership, women can gain confidence in pursuing their goals.
A common complaint is the scarcity of women in tech leadership positions, which is constrained by the limited number of women in the promotion pipeline. Leaders get more women into that pipeline by developing leadership skills in their mentees.
It can be difficult to adapt when joining a new department or company. Women in tech are more likely to join cultures established primarily by men, making them feel like outsiders. A mentor can provide additional insight into how to embrace that new culture and quickly adapt.
There’s no doubt that solid communication skills are a must for those who wish to be strong leaders. Working with a mentor, women in tech can hone their communication skills by practicing with someone invested in their success and career growth. Mentors are often ready and willing to provide feedback that enhances practical communication skills.
Mentors provide various opportunities for their mentees to expand their personal and professional networks. This comes about through introductions, suggestions about organizations or activities to pursue, and even invitations to join groups or activities.
Female leaders can indeed be exceptional role models and counsel women in tech toward success.
It’s also true that in many segments of the technical world, men are still the ones in the majority of leadership positions and, therefore, the most likely to lead and effect change. As part of the majority, they are more organically exposed to the behind-the-scenes workings and often have more experience.
A male mentor can provide women in technology with a different perspective. They address problems differently, may have an alternative viewpoint on making decisions, and approach collaboration and competition differently. The same applies when women mentor men. Mentoring women may even give men an awareness of issues and sensitivity to the challenges faced by women in tech.
Certainly, there’s value for the mentee. And as a mentor, you’ll be given a unique opportunity to encourage someone else and help guide them in their career growth.
Mentoring makes you a better leader by strengthening essential leadership skills such as motivation, compassion, empathy, and support.
As a woman in technology, I’ve encouraged mentoring for everyone here at Thurman Co., and expanded that to my participation within professional organizations such as Women in Manufacturing. When each team member is mentored to do their best, everyone benefits: leadership, employees, and our clients.
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