Feeling connected has never been more important, especially for new employees! This week, we sat down with Jeremy and Leesa of Hydro Tasmania, to chat about their mentoring journey so far. We explore career growth and leadership, reciprocal mentoring, improved job satisfaction and the value of allowing yourself to be vulnerable.
To kick it off, Jeremy and Leesa shared what they were initially hoping to get out of the mentoring program. Having objectives in mind was useful, but they also found the importance of going in with an open mind. Here’s what they had to say:
Leesa: Being new to Hydro Tasmania, I wanted to form a connection with someone outside my team who could help me understand the business a little better. I was also keen to discuss leadership and personal development with a person who had experience and an interest in these areas. Jeremy was the perfect match in both respects.
He has been a great sounding board for ideas and solutions I have in mind, as well as helping me navigate company terrain. I always feel more self-assured and spirited after our conversations. I suspect Jeremy has benefited from getting a fresh perspective on how our business operates… Hopefully, my enthusiasm has been infectious.
“Mentoring has been a highlight for me this year”
Jeremy: Going into the program I wanted to help others and make new connections as a mentor. I’m certainly getting the chance to do that both as a mentor and mentee. In the last six months, I’ve had to the opportunity to work with several HT team members including Leesa. In most cases, I have attempted to share my experience in team and project management at HT, but our conversations are always organic and cover a broad range of topics.
This mentoring relationship has given me an opportunity to get to know Leesa much better; and to understand her interests and aspirations. Mentoring has been a highlight for me this year, and it’s inspiring to meet individuals like Leesa who are keen to grow and support positive change at HT.
Reciprocal mentoring (where there is a value exchange for both participants) is something that we always encourage. So we asked Jeremy and Leesa to share their one ‘secret’ for a good mentoring partnership.
Jeremy: Listening is the most important element, but I also think it helps to link with someone who is different from yourself so you can get a new perspective. Leesa joined HT with a strong and diverse work background, and brings with her a new perspective on our team and the broader business.
In working with Leesa, I feel like I have gained just as much value from the relationship. Overall, it’s important to be open to learning in either role as mentor or mentee.
Leesa: Jeremy and I have both been keen to get each other’s perspective on whatever topic is being discussed, so we’ve naturally fallen into a ‘listen and ask questions’ dynamic. This has helped us extract as much knowledge as possible from each other, but it’s also helped us establish respect and understanding. I come away from our chats feeling like what I’ve said matters, which makes me feel like I matter.
Naturally, after these incredible responses, we want to know a little bit more about the impact mentoring has had for both Jeremy and Leesa!
Jeremy: I’ve had many mentors in my career and some of the perspectives and wisdom they have shared has stuck with me and influenced the way I work and relate to others. Some of these learnings have come from observing others’ leadership styles, and others have come from feedback given directly to me to help me improve. I believe the help and feedback others have given me have definitely influenced my career path and progression.
Leesa: Being helped and helping others is the best way to feel connected to a workplace. My mentoring sessions with Jeremy have done just this. It’s definitely boosted my sense of job satisfaction.
Lastly, we asked our wonderful team if they have any tips or advice for those new to mentoring…
Jeremy: Mentoring doesn’t have to be a formal and complex process. It can start as simply as asking others for their advice on a situation or challenge.
“Be courageous and reach out to ask for support when you need it. Both you and the person you contact will be happy you did.”
Leesa: Vulnerability can be scary, but a mentor is so much more valuable when they can clearly see who you are and where they can help. Once you’re honest with yourself, it’s easier to take on feedback and improve who you are personally and professionally.