Mentoring is a mutually beneficial relationship in which a knowledgeable and skilled veteran officer (mentor) provides insight, guidance and developmental opportunities to a lesser skilled and experienced colleague (protégé).
The modern concept of mentoring, that has recently been used to effectively recruit and retain new employees in business and academic institutions, provides law enforcement with an opportunity to engage and anchor new employees at a time when industry competition for those employees is at an all-time high.
Mentoring Relationship Goals:
1) To promote professional growth
2) Inspire personal motivation
3) Enhance effectiveness of law enforcement services.
Mentoring Benefits for Protégés:
· Increases likelihood for success. Mentors help protégés gain competency and avoid failure.
· Assists protégés in setting goals and charting career paths.
· Encourages and provides opportunities for new experiences and professional growth.
· Helps the protégé avoid pitfalls and learn through real-life examples.
· Enhances the protégés’ feeling of worth to the mentor and the organization.
· Encourages self-confidence by cheering protégé achievements.
Many successful people attribute their achievements to a mentoring relationship. Many “repay” their debt to the mentor and the organization by becoming future mentors. When mentoring begins with new employees, it is the first step toward institutionalizing mentoring in the department.
Formal versus Informal Mentoring:
Some law enforcement organizations have implemented new-hire mentoring programs as a method of reducing employee turnover, while others have chosen the more frequent method of informal mentoring.
Examples of informal mentoring have occurred throughout the history of law enforcement.
Typically, a veteran officer encourages friends or acquaintances to apply for positions in their department.
As a result, there is a natural tendency for the veteran officer to encourage, support and give information to his or her friend during the hiring and training period. This informal mentoring relationship provides an advantage to the new employee by helping them to feel connected to the new department.
The Benefits of Formal Mentoring:
1) Ensures that all employees will receive the benefits of a mentoring relationship
2) Promotes agency loyalty and inclusiveness
3) Identifies program goals
4) Creates program structure and procedures
5) Defines mentor/protégé roles and responsibilities
The best reason for creating a formal process is that it affords every employee the opportunity and benefit of mentoring and promotes loyalty and inclusiveness within the organization. In addition, a formal mentoring process identifies goals, creates structure and procedures, and defines mentor/protégé roles and responsibilities.
Although the program requires time to plan and initiate and requires some oversight, it often results in enhanced employee self-esteem and a “great place to work” environment.
A formal mentoring program or creating a mentoring environment in an organization, can improve and promote any leadership initiative.
Law enforcement as an industry has experienced many challenges in recruiting and retaining personnel; this is due in part to national and local economic change and a transformation of effective recruiting methods influenced by modern media.
For law enforcement agencies interested in improving effective recruitment, retention, and personnel leadership development by initiating a mentoring program, a step-by-step mentoring plan follows
¨ Encourage and model value-focused behavior.
¨ Share critical knowledge and experience.
¨ Listen to personal and professional challenges.
¨ Set expectations for success.
¨ Offer wise counsel.
¨ Help build self-confidence.
¨ Offer friendship and encouragement.
¨ Provide information and resources.
¨ Offer guidance, give feedback and cheer accomplishments.
¨ Discuss and facilitate opportunities for new experiences and skill building.
¨ Assist in mapping career plan.
The Benefits of Mentor Vs Supervisor:
Traditional Supervisors have a sense of detachment among the troops. They are seen as being there to evaluate, assess, and discipline.
Mentoring operates on the assumption that people relate more readily and positively to peer assistance than to supervisory direction. It provides a nonthreatening environment for learning and growth to occur. There are benefits not only for the protégé, but for the mentor, and the agency itself as well.
The protégé is the obvious and objected benefactor to a mentor philosophy. They automatically gain assistance in developing the self-confidence that is vital early in their career to surviving in the law enforcement field. They get career insights and guidance that would not have normally been available to them, enhancing the quality and quantity their job knowledge and training; preparing them for advancement toward their career goals.
Agencies benefit from mentoring as well. More officers complete their probationary period. There is increased job satisfaction and sense of camaraderie which leads to higher morale overall. With the increased job satisfaction, retention is improved because the officer will be more inclined to pursue advancement within their own agency if they had a positive experience with a mentor.
Copyright © 2019 Sherlock Consulting Canada Inc - All Rights Reserved.