What Senior Team Members Want But Won’t Ask For
They won’t ask for it. They won’t admit it. But the senior people in your organization need help — help with keeping pace with changes in technology.
As people age, they become selectively pragmatic. They adopt technology they find instantly useful and ignore or resist the technology they don’t. This leaves them behind the learning curve in a fast-changing world.
Many senior people in organizations don’t know how to fully operate their smart phones, understand the difference between the public and private cloud, or why or how to use new social media. This put the most experienced team members in an organization at a distinct disadvantage. One way to address the technology gap is to invest in reverse mentoring.
Reverse mentoring refers to pairing more experienced team members with those technologically savvy, junior employees to facilitate an exchange of skills and knowledge.
Originated by General Electric in the 1990s, reverse mentoring has proven to jumpstart learning, relationships, collaboration, and new skills. Better yet, it helps to bridge the generational gap of thinking between two very different and important groups, often leading to higher retention for both.
The topics to be addressed in a reverse mentoring relationship can be broad or specific. Smart phone skills, navigating new social media, digital process trends, FinTech applications, personal cybersecurity issues, and the application of Artificial Intelligence are just some of the possibilities.
When senior members of a team or organization struggle with new technology, good leaders use reverse mentoring to address the learning gap. As technology changes and paves the future, seniors implicitly know that, if they’re not riding in the steamroller, they’ll soon get splattered on the road. They want the help to avoid being crushed. But they won’t ask for it. The best organizations give it to them in the form of reverse mentoring.