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Diversity Journal | Guiding Leaders Toward Inclusive Mentoring

Diversity Journal | Guiding Leaders Toward Inclusive Mentoring

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Professional Development mentors and mentees may ask more questions – or Through shared experiences is an different questions – than they would with someone important component in developing a more like themselves. Their differing points of view diverse workforce
Professional Development mentors and mentees may ask more questions – or Through shared experiences is an different questions – than they would with someone important component in developing a more like themselves. Their differing points of view diverse workforce

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Published by: Profiles in Diversity Journal on Jun 23, 2011
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01/28/2013

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By Bernadette Pieters
National Director of Diversity, Director of Human Resources, Northeast Region, BDO USA, LLP
Guiding Leaders Toward
Inclusive Mentoring
www. diversi t yj our nal . com MAy/ j une 2 0 11
45
P
ROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
THROUGH shared experiences is an
important component in developing a
diverse workforce. Often in a down
economy, the professional development of employ-
ees can take a back seat to a focus on the bottom
line. In times like these, human resources (HR)
professionals should continue to foster productive
knowledge sharing to fuel professional develop-
ment. A critical aspect of this mission is guiding
leadership toward a focus on mentoring.
Think of the employees in your company who
do their work and do it well, but are still develop-
ing their relationship-building skills. They need to
know they’re valued and who they can turn to for
professional guidance and coach-
ing. By encouraging our leaders
to practice and support inclusive
mentoring, we can help ensure that
all employees have the opportunity
to benefit from a mentoring rela-
tionship, be it formal or informal.
Inclusion, in its simplest form,
involves valuing differences within
a workforce and leveraging them
strategically to conduct business
more effectively and optimize re-
sults. At first glance, inclusion and mentoring may
appear to be conceptually at odds – with inclusion
focused on differences and traditional mentoring
focused on matching mentor and mentee based on
similarities. What traditional mentoring programs
overlook is that often the most unlikely pairings
generate the best results.
Personality or other differences in a mentoring re-
lationship demand a more concerted effort for peo-
ple to accept and understand one another. Inclusive
mentors and mentees may ask more questions – or
different questions – than they would with someone
more like themselves. Their differing points of view
can reveal new solutions as they seek to discover each
other’s strengths and challenges. And over time, their
differences will become the basis for a culture of di-
verse voices throughout the organization.
As we adopt an inclusive mentoring mindset, we
should tie the concept back to its impact on the
business. Understanding the diverse skills, back-
grounds, and perspectives of our employees enables
us to guide them to projects or assignments where
they are positioned to succeed. The result is greater
employee satisfaction, quality work performance
and the achievement of desired business objectives.
Inclusive mentors may tap into
previously untapped resources and
ideas, strengthening the company
financially and culturally by bring-
ing out a sense of passion and em-
powerment in their mentees.
In the end, both mentor and
mentee will find that they achieve
personal accomplishments through
their professional relationship.
There is joint accountability to
build a strong relationship with
end goals in mind; to teach one another and learn
from one another. And, in the process, they will
create a culture of empowerment and diverse voices
that proliferates as inclusive mentoring becomes
part of the fiber of the organization. PDJ
BDO USA, LLP provides assurance, tax, financial advisory and consulting
services to a wide range of publicly traded and privately held companies. The firm
serves clients through 40 offices and more than 400 independent alliance firm
locations nationwide. Visit www.bdo.com for more information.
“inclusion, in its sim-
plest form, involves
valuing differences
within a workforce
and leveraging them
strategically to
conduct business
more effectively and
optimize results.”

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