This is a follow-up to last week’s request from a mid-level manager who was looking into being a mentor:
What are the best ways to deal externally and internally with a mentee who is showing a lack of gratitude for what I have done for them ie put my time, energy, care and investment in them?
What is the best way for me to deal with someone who is unaware of the hard work I am trying to help them succeed in work and life? Or, worse, how do I deal with someone who seems aware but is selfish and egocentric like I used to be when I too took advice like that for granted, didn’t say thank you, never gave back, ever Showed appreciation, acted legitimately, etc.?
I don’t want to spend any more time with these people in the latter group, but since I’m supposed to be the wiser and older one, how do I elegantly break away without obviously ghosting them?
What I did is just not reply immediately and reply on my time. And maybe that’s enough. But inside I feel offended, angry, etc. Then I realize: I used to be like that when I was that person’s age, so I also feel forgiven.
I’m just not sure what balance is best for maintaining my own sanity and hers.
G: It may take some real effort to resolve the need for appreciation, especially in situations that aren’t ideal. I’ll address that point in a moment, but first…
I spoke to a manager who has experience with HR issues and the advice offered was similar to what I’m sharing here.
If you have an employee concern, it is often best to raise it with your line manager first, before escalating it to the person in Human Resources who is responsible for the company’s employee disputes.
While this may not seem like a “dispute” in the usual sense, HR has ways of dealing with “hiring,” including setting up a staff interview with the employee (or employees) in question.
You must first give your manager feedback on the “attitude” or challenges you are facing in your mentoring role to see what specific recommendations you prefer before considering taking it to the next level.
If you don’t feel comfortable discussing this with your boss, you still have options.
First, recognize and accept that there will always be situations with colleagues that are less than perfect, and it is up to you to control your emotions and your reactions so you don’t become the problem worker and compound your difficulties.
Second, we must not measure the level of appreciation we show others as a measure of how we respond to co-workers, friends, family, or strangers.
Delaying a reaction like you did in my playbook is a passive-aggressive action. It’s not helpful in making a positive change in your mentee and will only serve to hurt your self-esteem.
You are aware that you are not treating your mentee the way you would like to be treated, i.e. with respect and urgency, and that is a spiritual failing that needs to be addressed quickly.
When it comes to your mental health management, determine your capacity for generosity and rise to that level or even exceed it by viewing this challenge as a spiritual test that you intend to overcome.
To do this, I encourage you to view this difficulty with your mentee as a wonderful opportunity to expand your compassion, forgiveness, and wisdom as you work toward improved communication.
This may require you to discuss with the mentee how you have been feeling and share some of your past immature behaviors. Consider talking about a specific example from your past, as this can help bring it home and start positive change even faster.
You may be surprised to learn (either from your manager or directly from the mentee) that the mentee’s reason for hiring has nothing to do with you personally, but he/she could be in serious trouble in other areas of her personal or personal environment Difficulties stuck Professional life.
Or it may be as simple as having sleep/stress/anxiety issues that don’t make them look their best, and might even appreciate a gentle “calling” about the issue.
Being a great manager means being aware of the team’s mood swings and attitudes, and sometimes it takes one of those face-to-face conversations to correct bad behavior or clean up the culture before it turns into a toxic environment.
Be prepared to listen calmly and patiently to your mentee. Try to see if there is an area outside of their specific job that you might be able to help them with.
If not, your mentee will eventually have a better understanding of you, your career path, and the sacrifices you make for them.
Ignorance is often the cause of bad behavior and immaturity, and that can be improved with heartfelt communication, patience, and forgiveness.
Email Giselle with your question [email protected] or email: Giselle Massi, PO Box 991, Evergreen, CO 80437. For more information and previous columns, visit www.gisellemassi.com