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Effective and Ineffective Mentoring

Effective mentoring encompasses:

  • Long-term commitments from individuals, departments and institutions.
  • Being inclusive of all ranks and peers.
  • Developing a mosaic of mentors throughout one’s career.
  • The development of clear, mutual expectations .
  • The mentee is pro-active in seeking advice, knowledge and assistance which the mentor supportively gives (career progress, promotion and work-life balance).
  • The mentor reviews and identifies career goals and skills of the mentee and finds ways to integrate these into supporting the department’s mission.
  • Addresses equity and inclusion and is culturally relevant
  • Fosters independence and promotes professional development

In order to avoid negative or “toxic” mentoring experiences, it is imperative to watch out for these pitfalls:

  • Mismatched expectations.
  • Time constraints or time demands (spending too much or too little time).
  • Expertise of mentor not aligned with goals of mentoring relationship.
  • Abuse of power in the relationship.
  • Overdependence.
  • Mentoring not culturally aware
  • Competition between the mentor and mentee.
  • Mentor does not promote the mentee’s ideas or takes credit for the work.
  • Conflict between the mentor and the mentee’s supervisor.
  • Lack of boundaries
  • Abuse of power, sexual harassment.

Eby LT, Allen TD. Further investigation of protégés negative mentoring experiences: patterns and outcomes. Group and Organizational Management. 2002;27(4).