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Mentoring -- Question & Answer Listing  
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Question / Answer

Question:
As a leader, what kind of feedback should I give to my team memberss?

Answer:
There are a number of ways for a leader to give feedback to his/her team members. For example, a periodic employee evaluation is a formal way to review an individuals contribution to the organization and his/her future goals. Leaders should use constructive critism to address areas in need of improvement and praise to recognize achievements. Awards, promotions, and public recognition are other ways to reward employees for successful work. Feedback can also come in a more simpler form such as a verbal "thank you" or "you did a great job on that last assignment." Check with the references listed here for more information on leadership feedback tools.

Question:
Aside from sharing one's knowledge and experience, what are some other things a mentor can do to help his/her mentee grow?

Answer:
One way to inspire your mentee is to present him/her with interesting and challenging developmental tasks. Recognize and acknowledge your mentee’s accomplishments and encourage his/her growth through other channels such as education trying for a new position with increased responsibilities.

Question:
How do corporate mentoring programs benefit the organization?

Answer:
Corporate mentoring programs can be a very effective and inexpensive way to enhance individual’s on-the-job training and personal growth. Mentors can ease the learning curve and adjustment period associated with new employees. They can also help develop and groom employees for higher positions in the organization. Mentoring programs send an important message to employees that the organization values their personal and professional development, which can help with a company’s efforts to recruit and retain personnel. Mentoring programs benefit both the workforce and the organization. Learn more about corporate mentoring programs through some of the resources listed.

Question:
How does a mentor sharing stories of his/her life experiences benefit others?

Answer:
Mentors share their life or career experiences with their mentees in order to provide them with examples of similar (or relevant) experiences they once had that might, in turn, benefit them in their current situations. Mentors set examples and serve as role models for others.

Question:
How should leaders counsel their staff or group members on what they've done wrong?

Answer:
Providing feedback to your employees or group members is important. Although providing positive feedback is much easier, there are times when negative feedback is necessary. In order for negative feedback to be effective, it is important that you do it privately. Avoid embarrassing the individual in public. If possible, address problems as soon as you become aware of them. Be specific and focus on the behavior or the performance. Do not “attack” the individual. If possible, identify aspects of the individual’s behavior or performance that are positive and use the discussion to focus on how he/she can improve. Help him/her develop a plan of action and establish a method for measuring the individual’s progress. Negative feedback does not have to be unpleasant. It can be used as a basis to develop clearer directions and a plan for improvement. The discussion that takes place can also be used to assess the individual’s resources and address training requirements. These are just a few tips for delivering negative feedback to individuals. Learn more about counseling and coaching techniques from the resources provided.

Question:
If my staff seems content in their current jobs, is it really necessary to provide additional training?

Answer:
Training and developing group members is a major responsibility of the leader of an organization, even if they are content in their current positions. Provide opportunities for growth, whether it is training to improve working conditions for your employees (such as diversity training, safety classes, or annual security procedure briefings), training to help them improve their work performance, or classes to help them advance to more responsible jobs. It is important to provide these opportunities to your employees, not only for their own job satisfaction, but also to keep your organization competitive. One of the greatest contributions a leader can make is to develop leadership at all levels of the organization to ensure its continued existence.

Question:
What actually is “leader development?”

Answer:
Leader development includes learning, developing, and receiving feedback from a more experienced individual or mentor. Leaders should take the time to counsel subordinates about their interests and goals and offer opportunities (e.g., classes, on-the-job training, and mentor/mentee relationships) for professional and individual growth.

Question:
What are some benefits an individual can expect from having a mentor?

Answer:
Mentors generally are individuals who have more knowledge and/or experience in a particular subject area than you do. If you are new to an organization, a mentor can help you adapt more quickly to your new workplace. He/she can familiarize you with the corporate culture and help you develop skills and abilities to enhance your personal and professional experience in the organization. Mentors provide support, direction, insight, and advice to build your confidence and self-esteem. The experience should be positive and enriching, enabling you to take on new challenges or assume positions of greater responsibility – whether it be a corporate, youth, educational, or other type of mentoring program. Learn more about mentoring programs through the resources provided or directly from organizations offering mentoring programs.

Question:
What are some things a leader can do to sustain an organization?

Answer:
In addition to effective leadership and good business practices, a leader needs to communicate a vision for the organization’s future. Develop a plan that includes achievable goals for its members and outline a strategy for attaining them. Leaders need to identify individuals in the organization who exhibit a potential for advancement to higher-level leadership positions and groom them through training and mentorship to accept those positions. There are many things a leader can do to sustain an organization. Much depends on the organization’s purpose, vision, and resources. Learn more about strategic planning and leader development through the references listed.

Question:
What are some things I should do as a mentor?

Answer:
Most mentoring programs offer training to individuals interested in becoming a mentor that provides some ideas on what you can do with your mentee. For example, this training may include information on: how to be an effective listener; how to give constructive feedback to your mentee; how to encourage creativity from your mentee; how to manage the relationship (setting guidelines to follow); how to share experiences and provide guidance, etc. Mentors offer experience in a wide range of areas (e.g., organizing priorities, managerial style, interpersonal style, intellectual pursuits, financial issues, balancing demands of family and career, risk taking, etc.). As a mentor, you should develop ways to share those experiences that best meet the needs of your mentee. Also, goal setting is often an important part of a mentor/mentee relationship. Help your mentee set goals for himself/herself and assist him/her in developing a strategy to achieve them. Do not make decisions for them, but guide them in ways that allow them to make their own choices. These are just a few ideas of what mentors can do. Learn more from the specific organization with whom you are a mentor and/or the resources provided here.
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