The Godfather of Mentorship

A mentor can provide the impetus necessary for the personal and professional development of their mentee. It is mutually beneficial; for the mentee, having the guidance and support of an experienced supervisor can translate into increased productivity in the workplace. As for the mentor, supervising a junior can lead to exposure to fresh ideas as well as introspection about traditional methods and practices. This relationship is based on both parties engaging in the exchange of ideas and deciding on goals for further development. It can help the new employee quickly assimilate with the prevalent company culture. Even continuing employees can be mentored, helping them grow from their position and perform their responsibilities and assigned tasks better. Mentorship can be evaluative as well, with the supervisor ensuring that their mentee is performing their job efficiently and to the best of their abilities.

Having a mentorship system can significantly enhance the productivity of a company. It helps with the transfer of specific knowledge amongst employees and boosts employee engagement as it provides them with opportunities to grow and move forward. The relationship can take several different forms, and some dominant, memorable Pop Culture figures and icons might help us understand these different types of mentorship better.

The Godfather

Don Vito Corleone was a force to be reckoned with. He came from Sicily with nothing to himself, and inspired by his desire for revenge, eventually took over the New York mafia. He made offers that could not be refused and commanded the respect of friend and foe alike. His understanding of human nature and intuitive knowledge of people’s intentions helped him survive the brutal world of early 20th-century crime. Vito Corleone’s farsightedness was evident throughout the Godfather trilogy, where he preempted the betrayal by the New York crime families.

Some mentorship programs just cannot be refused. Helps to be internally motivated and driven in such cases! Image Source

Family provides the best guidance in Corleone’s world. Family comes before everything and must stick together, despite betrayals or disappointments. And family often involves tough love and a staunch belief in making people capable enough to realise their potential on their own merit and worth. Each of his sons were ready to do anything to protect him, and it was the upbringing that he provided to them which led them to become important leaders in their own right. Michael especially stood out, as he succeeded Vito Corleone as the godfather and improved upon the deficiencies of his predecessors. Growth requires guidance, and this guidance does not necessarily mean handholding. As important it is to provide the right mentor to employees, it is just as if not more crucial to ensure that the employees want to develop themselves, and are willing to push themselves to do so. Guidance can only take someone so far. An intrinsic drive, a recognition of knowledge or skill gaps and the willingness to plug them is critical for any employee to thrive in a fast-paced world.

Kung Fu Panda

The Dragon Warrior had quite a tumultuous journey before he fully realised his powers. Po was simply a food aficionado with a penchant for kung fu and the Furious Five. His relationship with Master Shifu was a focal point of the series and is an excellent example of the results that the right mentorship can provide.

Customising training programs to suit your employees can pay off big time, whether they’re potential Dragon Warriors or not. Image Source

While Shifu was initially displeased at Po being chosen as the Dragon Warrior by Oogway, he gradually warmed up to the idea, to a point that he eventually trained Po in a rather special way. By customising training to Po’s interests and things that he could easily relate to, the fighter that was present in the panda all along was finally able to shine through. Ensuring that employee development programmes are tailored to specific employee needs can ensure maximum possible benefit out of such schemes.

The Devil Wears Prada

While Miranda Priestly wasn’t exactly the ideal mentor, she did influence Andy in a variety of ways which eventually enabled her to find her own path and success. Priestly, editor of an influential fashion magazine, subjected her assistant to exorbitant demands and repeatedly put them through hoops that were certainly unacceptable by today’s work standards. Whether it was finding the unpublished Harry Potter book or being blackmailed into doing several things in order to keep her job, Andy had to do a lot of things that were certainly not what she would have had in mind when she joined the company.

If Meryl Streep cannot motivate you enough to care about your job, no one can! Image Source

An important lesson to obtain from this movie is that if the employee is not compatible with the company culture, they’re simply not going to be at their best no matter how many adjustments they try to make. Andy did repeatedly try to fit in with the highbrow world of fashion, but its cutthroat nature and extreme demands eventually caught up with her. It is mutually harmful for both employee and employer if their aspirations do not match, and it’s imperative that these differences are sorted from the start. Despite Miranda’s veiled efforts to assimilate Andy with the company, she eventually left to pursue other ambitions.

Creating a mentorship programme benefits the mentor, mentee, and the entire company as well. It identifies emerging talent, provides them with growth opportunities, and this development ultimately benefits the company bottom line. Putting one up in place while understanding your target audience, their needs, gap areas and capabilities will pay off that much more handsomely.

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