In his book, Managers as Mentors, Chip R. Bell describes a mentor as “someone who helps someone else learn something the learner would otherwise have learned less well, more slowly, or not at all.” A mentor’s understanding of the organization’s structure and culture assists the new facility manager in defining realistic job competencies and career goals, as well as strategies and options which may extend beyond the current job or career field.

The mentor is a role model and sounding board who provides confidential guidance on ways to gain acceptance and recognition in the larger organization. Mentoring is a constantly evolving process and requires the mentor and new facility manager to work together as partners to define appropriate career satisfaction goals and to provide each other with sufficient feedback in order to achieve those goals.

What difference do mentors make in one’s development? Mentored facility managers benefit from the following:

  • Forming a connection with an interested person who monitors development, provides encouragement, and assists in the transfer of learning to the job
  • Having goals defined and clarified so that they are both realistic and challenging, or taking steps toward a goal they already identified
  • Receiving advice on the Supervision, Management and Leadership competencies and how to achieve proficiency in those competencies
  • Gaining perspective of the mentor on politics as well as priorities and programs
  • Receiving feedback about self-presentation (or other issues) that supervisors often don’t give, generally because they have to work with the person on a  daily basis
  • Having access to an objective and credible source of information about how the system works and how to work the system
  • Being able to improve job performance, because they can discuss any problem areas with the mentor and strategize about how to work them out with the supervisor, and because they are more highly motivated

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