Thoughts on mentoring

I had a long conversation with an old fried the other night about the perceived lack of commitment among the new generation of employees. I talked about how they didn’t seem to have the same work ethic that I had felt was necessary when I was starting my career in my mid-20s.

He challenged me, asking, “what are you doing as a mentor to make sure they understand their responsibilities? Are you explicit about your expectations? Are you praising them for their positive behavior in addition to discouraging negative actions?”

It got me thinking about the brokerage industry and the traditionally poor job we do developing talent. Brokerage shops are happy to churn through young employees, provide minimal training, and hope that something sticks before they burn out and quit. It’s something that I experienced as a young broker myself and have been guilty of doing now that I’m more advanced.

I recognized that while I frequently express disappointment when junior guys miss the mark, I don’t do a great job of reinforcing positives. It can create an environment that is frustrating and leads to a lack of communication inside the office and within a team. Rather than complaining that new employees aren’t cutting it, we would be best served by investing in their success. We need to lay out expectations and then help them figure it out.

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