Artículo Forbes

Jose Luis Castro Forbes Councils Member
Forbes Nonprofit Council| Membership (Fee-Based)

Mentorship Can Help Move Our Missions Forward In A Post-Pandemic World

septiembre 17, 2022
President and CEO of Vital Strategies, a global public health organization that designs solutions to pressing health problems.


What will mentorship mean in a post-pandemic world? As we’ve discovered since the earliest days of lockdowns right up through hybrid and phased-in re-openings, mentorship is more multifaceted than we knew. Turns out it can happen not only face-to-face but over Zoom chats and socially distanced in-person encounters. It can be nurtured with our faces masked or from a thousand miles away. And its essentialness only increases in high-pressure circumstances.

Our shared, global dilemma over these past two and a half years has created a crisis of confidence and direction for so many individuals and organizations. People need guidance in their personal and professional lives more than ever before. At my company, one of our immediate responses, pulled from a timeless tenet of mentorship, is to encourage your team—from executives on down—to prioritize health and well-being and to, in turn, pass that message on to colleagues and peers as a cornerstone of mentorship.

Before Covid, my company implemented a buddy system by pairing up new hires with established staffers to help them integrate into our workflow and culture. Mentors gain confidence through the experience, while it also hastens mentees’ learning curve. In the end, the process encourages peer bonding and enhances workplace acclimation, which is good for the goals of their department and the organization.

On a different note, it is also important for organizations to assess how they vet and appoint board positions. The best board members thrive principally on offering counsel and helping shape and execute an organization’s boldest visions. They are, by design, senior mentors. Make sure your board is comprised of a mix: appointees who’ve had experience serving in similar capacities elsewhere, as well as fresh faces with innovative pathways to excellence. Ideally, the former will have dual functions, mentoring the latter while also pushing organizational executives closer to their goals.

But I also suggest pursuing mentorship opportunities outside of the office—or home office, as the case may be. Search volunteer openings in your area, whether that means supporting youth at local recreational centers, assisting the elderly as they navigate challenges accessing crucial resources, or hosting workshops at a library or other community facility, just to name a few.

As a complement to that outreach, reflect on your deeper history of being mentored and offering mentorship throughout your life. Reread your résumé to jog recollections of how past leaders did or didn’t act as educator and advocate during your time with them, and how that might have informed how you mentor today. Your own approach to mentorship, and how you define mentorship for your team, will always necessitate personalized tweaks and refinements, but introspection on how you got to this present moment is another foundational element.

What we really mean when we talk about mentorship is decency and direction. That could not be more paramount when, as a society, we are sorting through the trauma of this pandemic and re-evaluating work/life balance. People at all levels of an organization need orientation, and providing it can be rejuvenating for weary leaders unsure how to move their mission into the future. We can all rise to the occasion, offering counsel and support in this unprecedented era.

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