November 14, 2023

Mentoring Helps Both Parties and the Whole Industry

By Paul Daniels

I read an article about how important it is to have mentors in your organization. The authors stated that “just under half of Gen Zers (48%) report they don’t have a mentor on the job—but the overwhelming majority (83%) want one, according to a recent Adobe survey. Workers with mentors are happier at their jobs and get ahead faster.”

Over the years, starting in college, I had several mentors who seemed to always arrive at the right time in my career. These were not people I approached but people who saw something in me that made them want to help and support my progress. Asking people for help and listening can open the door for people to want to support you in your career. Encouragement was probably the most important part of those relationships, and it is important to let them know their help and support were welcome.

The glass industry needs mentors to pass on their experience and attract good people to our industry.

Some companies have mentor programs, but these do not always work out when they are more formal, with a third party pairing people up. A culture of support in your business can encourage experienced people to work with the next generation.

The glass industry needs mentors to pass on their experience and attract good people to our industry. I know we have many experienced people who have what it takes to be a mentor. According to the article I referenced earlier, “A good mentor possesses a blend of expertise, empathy and the ability to listen. They should be knowledgeable in their field and willing to invest time in understanding their mentee’s unique challenges and aspirations. A mentor’s role is not to provide all the answers but to guide the mentee in discovering their own path to success.”

If you feel you have these attributes, there are many ways to give back to our industry. Work with people in your organization, volunteer for training programs or speak at local glass association meetings and trade shows. Look for people that you can encourage. You will be surprised at how a compliment or a “job well done” can impact a young mind. When you find people who want to listen and learn, sharing your experience will be rewarding.