An idea: reverse mentoring

An idea that came to me a couple of weeks ago after a friend pointed out a potential problem with the name of one of our LinkedIn events, ‘Slack Slavery’. He noted the sensitivities around using the word, even when it was certainly referring to being at the mercy of a specific platform rather than historical connotations of serfdom. 

Of course, we changed it, but it got me thinking about the benefits of mentoring in a different way to the traditional norm.   

There is so much going on in the world that younger generations are much more well-versed about. So many conversations about not just social justice, but technology, social platforms and even the metaverse – all of which important for leaders to understand. I consider myself to be pretty good at least trying to be culturally aware and appropriate, but there’s so much for me to learn. 

A shift in mentoring mindset

Whilst there are always exceptions, conventional mentorship is often older, more experienced (in years) individuals mentoring younger, less experienced (in years) professionals. All well and good, but how much value could be derived from receiving mentorship from a younger person or someone who has incredible knowledge of a niche field that you are lacking? Moreover, what sort of message would this kind of respect send to your teams?  

My daughter is currently someone I consider a mentor – she is passionate about sustainability, the environment and frequently helps me to understand the problematic nature of social issues. She has changed my views and made me much more aware of things I might have otherwise, naively, left unquestioned.  

Is this something you could consider for your teams? Could you spend some time asking your team to mentor you on something they are passionate about or have knowledge of? 

The benefits could be huge. 



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