Effective and Ineffective Mentoring

Effective mentoring encompasses the followingIneffective mentoring results in the following
  • Long term commitment by individuals, department, and institution
  • Part of daily activities and becomes ingrained in institutional culture
  • Inclusive of all ranks and peers
  • Mosaic of mentors throughout one’s career
  • Development of clear, mutual expectations and agendas
  • Mentee is pro-active in seeking advice, knowledge, and assistance which the mentor supportively gives (career progress, promotion, and work-life balance)
  • Mentor reviews and identifies career goals and skills of the mentee and finds ways to integrate these into supporting the department’s mission
  • Evaluation of the mentoring relationship
  • Acknowledges the multi-generational differences and approaches to work-life balance
  • Reflects and supports the diversity of the workforce with regards to gender, race, culture, and ethnicity.

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

  1. Mismatch (or bad chemistry) between mentor and mentee
  2. Unrealistic expectations or unclear goals for relationship
  3. Time constraints or time demands (spending too much or too little time)
  4. Abuse of power in the relationship
  5. Overdependence
  6. Charges of favoritism
  7. Cultural barriers
  8. Competition between the mentor and mentee
  9. Mentor does not promote the mentee’s ideas or takes credit for the work.
  10. Conflict between the mentor and the mentee’s supervisor
  11. Sexual harassment

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