Mentorship - We Rise by Lifting Others

Mentorship - We Rise by Lifting Others

Mentorship - We Rise by Lifting Others
 Mentorship - We Rise by Lifting Others
 

Global Diversity

We are living in an age of globalization, where the world has become “flat”; I would even emphasize “flatter than ever before” to expand on Thomas Freidman’s initial idea in his best-selling book[1]. Technology has given us wings to virtually soar across the world and engage with project teams from different time zones, cultures and nationalities. 

As a result, global collaboration is becoming the norm enabling project teams to share online information, communicate at the ‘click of a button’ and reduce the costs of F2F meetings. Nevertheless, cross-cultural differences have the potential to create barriers within organizations rather than motivating a global mindset with cross-cultural competencies.

Has your organization created an inclusive environment embracing cross-cultural differences? Are your project managers able to harness global information sharing when geographic, language, and cultural barriers separate team members worldwide?

 

Inter-generational Diversity 

Not to mention, for the first time in history organizations are seeing four generations working amongst each other. Managing cooperation between generations in any organization can be an especially challenging task as Millennials clash with Generation X & Y and the Baby Boomers. Each generation has a different perspective as a result of historical events, social and cultural contexts and economic realities that have shaped their lives, perceptions and expectations. These differences can lead to inter-generational conflict. So how do we avoid conflict and spark cooperation?

Embracing Diversity through Mentorship

Project Managers are dealing with more global and inter-generational teams than ever before with teams being composed not only of differences covering race, but also gender, ethnic group, age, personality, cognitive style, tenure, organizational function, education, background and much more. Diversity not only involves how people perceive themselves, but also how they perceive others. Those perceptions affect their interactions and increase complexity. PMI identifies diversity as a key component of human behavior that can lead to complexity in the business and project environment [2]. How do you navigate these environments and leverage your organization’s diversity to drive performance? Ever think that mentorship programmes could be a great staring point?

A project manager’s success in this globalized world truly depends upon their ability to embrace diversity and harness the benefits of inter-generational and global project teams. Project managers without diversity awareness, who must interact across organizational, generational and cultural boundaries can quickly fall behind, which is why I believe it is fundamental, regardless of your age, to find a mentor or be a mentor that builds bridges because as Plutarch said “the mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.”

Mentorship 101

Mentorship is about creating a trust-based partnership between two people (mentor/mentee) whereby a mentor shares with a mentee information about their own career path, as well as provide guidance, motivation, emotional support, and role modelling. The objective of a mentor is to give honest feedback and to help the mentee to believe in themselves, while also challenging, guiding and providing encouragement.

Choosing a mentor who has a track record of building bridges and fostering diversity can help young project managers quickly progress to embrace and harness the benefits of a diverse project team. Not to mention, this process also creates an feedback-channel for senior project managers to ‘pass-the-baton’ of wisdom and lessons learned while enriching any existing succession planning in your organization.

My early career success has a lot to do with mentors who had an immense influence on my life and helped me to focus my professional and personal development in a positive and effective manner. It wasn't always easy to have formal sessions with my mentors, and so during hectic times, we managed our relationship virtually or informally (over a cup of coffee or over Skype). Without their support, advice and backing at key cross roads in my career, I would have lost valuable time making avoidable mistakes.

My Experience 

Just recently I had the opportunity to give back as a mentor. I spent an afternoon with a group of young students and interns sharing with them tips on how to plan their academic and career goals.

Not only did I see the first-hand impact that mentorship can have on their key decisions, as I answered their questions on  academic and career paths, but it was also very satisfying knowing that I can help to empower a young person's situation to make better informed decisions with impacts on their future. I am happy to say that the outcome of the meeting was an article written by their Young Professional Network that captured the most important success tips for young people when pursuing a career in Project Management.

Mentorship can truly make a difference in the life of a young person, and within the framework of an organizational mentorship programme, can help you to leverage your organization's diversity to drive performance, but above all as Robert Ingersoll said can help you to live a rewarding and enriching experience to "rise by lifting others".

[1] Friedman, T. L. (2005). The world is flat: A brief history of the twenty-first century. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.[2] Project Management Institute (PMI). (2014). Navigating complexity: A practice guide. Newtown Square, PA: Author

The Author : Kamil Mroz

Kamil Mroz

About :   
I am an award-winning project leader with director-level & site-leadership experience, strong communication skills and a strategic long-term view enabling the connection between strategy and operational execution.

I am driven and energized by coaching, mentoring and developing talents, while overcoming transversal organizational challenges. My experience in people management has enabled me to discover my passion for the leadership of intercultural, diverse and technical teams composed of both direct reports and cross-functional matrix project teams. I have been awarded global distinctions from both the largest PM organizations, IPMA and PMI for advanced project management expertise, strong team work, communication & leadership.

I owe my servant leadership approach to the time I have dedicated to social and volunteer-causes where I focused on several high-impact philanthropic projects in Europe. I am also proud to have also been the first ever student to be awarded the Young Alumni of the Year by the Faculty of Engineering from the University of Ottawa and I also Chair of the ISPE BeNeLux Steerco on Project Management.

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