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It's not just about understanding technology; reverse mentoring can also change ingrained perspectives that may be inhibiting true organizational diversity. For example, many older workers see younger employees as not as valuable, while younger workers believe that older workers are set in their ways and unable to grasp new technology.

What is the role of diversity in mentoring?

By having open conversations and taking the time to find common ground, younger employees can break down the beliefs held by older workers. By having younger staff members teach older staff members, other benefits emerge that can aid the spread of a culture based on the value of diversity. When I participated in a reverse mentoring relationship, we both learned something valuable. For example, one big issue when it comes to diversity is differences in communication style -- this can lead to many misunderstandings.

Mentoring Resources

However, in talking about certain phrases, tones of voice and body language, those misunderstandings were alleviated. Reverse mentoring has opened up opportunities that may not have happened in terms of an honest and open environment to discuss ideas and perspectives. I have spent more time getting to know others in the workplace who I may not have engaged with otherwise. It made me realize that even when discussing the value of diversity in the workplace, I wasn't doing as much as I could to understand others.


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The Women Working Longer Project. Illinois Workplace Wellness Study. The Oregon Health Insurance Experiment. He is also the Mitsui Professor of Economics at M.

How can reverse mentoring positively impact diversity?

Evidence from Teachers in New York City. Student in Economics. There are some recommended best practices for mentoring across these two variables, but always remember to approach individuals as individuals and not as just members of a group. In general, research has shown that women are just as likely as men to have a mentor, to initiate the relationship, and to report having significant faculty role models. Clark et al. It's also clear that the sex of mentor and protege are not a significant factor in determining the outcomes of the mentorship Raggins, Adopt a Collaborative Approach This is characterized by a willingness to give all students equal access to power and opportunity.

It also involves reciprocity between mentor and protege such that there is an interdependent quality to the relationship. Focus on the Quality of the Relationship Mentors should be empathetic and affirming and use praise rather than confrontation. The relationship should be collegial and empowering rather than competitive and should generate a strong emotional bond satisfying relational needs for both parties.


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  7. Emphasize a Mentoring Network Also called Mentoring Constellations, this involves having several mentors with different strengths and access to different resources. Multiple mentors have a higher capacity for offering various kinds of support than a single mentor.

    Leadership, Mentoring, and Diversity

    Blend Work-Related and Personal Support This kind of holistic mentoring is valuable for everyone, but women report being especially appreciative. Women often have more complicated work-life issues to balance than men and are generally more interested in having a mentor that can offer guidance. But it is reasonable to hypothesize that, in cases of same-sex mentoring, challenges similar to cross-sex mentorships probably apply.

    Most mentees, regardless of race, express a preference to have a mentor that "looks like them.


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    Once formed, these mentorships are generally as helpful to them as those when both parties are of the same race Enscher and Murphy, So it's clear that if minority students are going to have mentoring, deliberate attention must be paid to effectively mentoring across race differences. Recognize Stereotypes and Appreciate Individual Differences It's human nature as well as cognitively efficient to use some degree of stereotyping in our interaction with others.

    When recruiting or working with mentees of a different race, it's important to demonstrate your commitment to valuing them for their individuality and uniqueness, rather than seeing them as a representative of their racial group. Manifest Diversity-Promoting Attitudes and Behaviors Be actively engaged and concerned about minority issues.

    Confront stereotypes openly; support minority organizations on campus and in your discipline with time and resources; work to overcome feelings of discomfort in cross-race working relationships and mentorships; relish and accept differences. Understanding the effects of one's own cultural background and experience with individuals from different cultures are key to providing the best support possible for students we mentor.

    Establish Trust Trust is important in any mentoring relationship, but given historical power dynamics they may be even more so in cross-race mentorships. Mentors should acknowledge and validate the experiences of minority students as they pertain to overt or implicit racism and be genuinely interested in understanding the protege's path in society.

    Can Mentoring Programs Improve the Diversity Pipeline?

    Promote Secondary Mentorships It is important to support the idea of having multiple mentors with differing skills sets to obtain support across the range of needs. In the case of minority students, those needs likely include same-race support, engagement, and encouragement as well as strategies for success as a minority person in the discipline. Alan T.