Can you blame me if I feel hurt that the high potential person (HPP) that I had coached and mentored no longer gives me credit for my role in training and developing him? Pete (not his real name) had been one of the HPPs assigned to me to develop and prepare for a future responsible position. I took personal interest in him, sharing with him all that I knew thereby developing not only his competencies but also his attitudes, work ethics and personality. I also let him in on the corporate culture, and the unwritten dos and don’ts in our organization. On his part, he absorbed what was taught to him and was a very fast learner.
As he rose in his career in our company he would sometimes point to me as the one who taught him most of the things he knew. “I wouldn’t be where I am now if not for him [pointing to me]” I felt so proud of myself and of him.
Years later came the shock of my life: I was moved over to a less central role in the organization and Pete was promoted to replace me! Perhaps he sensed my deep hurt so he was apologetic. Since I couldn’t afford to resign because by then I was already in my 50s, I accepted the “bitter pill”. Pete’s star continued to shine and lately he is preparing himself for assignment to our global head quarters in the USA, a dream of mine that was never realized.
But the most devastating part is that since he was promoted to my position and has taken over my department, he had not given me credit as the one who had developed him as he had done in his earlier years with our company.
I don’t know how to handle myself. Please help me.
Mr. Waning Star
You want Pete to give credit to you for his fast-track career which includes being promoted to your position and garnering an international assignment which you had failed to achieve. Your need for recognition is heightened all the more as you see your stature slowly diminishing in your organization.
How to handle yourself? Handle yourself with dignity. Be happy! How?
Consider the following things that should change your attitudes towards yourself, the mentoring role and towards the people you mentored. With paradigm shift, should come a better appreciation of yourself, of the role of mentors, and of your expectation from people you had mentored. In this way, you’ll preserve your integrity and dignity and be happy.
First, accept the reality of corporate life. What’s important for an organization to thrive is to have the kind of people that will bring it to success in a dynamic and highly competitive business environment. The nature of the competencies required to steer an organization to success changes. See your mentoring of Pete as your having prepared him to succeed you. Every manager must prepare for his succession. Instead of thinking of Pete as the one who replaced you, think of him as having succeeded you, and that you prepared him for this succession.
Second. What you did to and for Pete was what the organization wanted you to do. You could not have done otherwise. That you were given a mentoring role to develop future leaders of your organization was recognition of your expertise in your profession or functional area. You were compensated for the time you spent with Pete and other HPPs that you had mentored. That you took the assignment of mentoring seriously because you gave it your all was a credit to you. Perhaps this was reflected in your boss’ appraisal of you.
Third. While you were developing the young HPPs, you were also developing yourself, enhancing your own IQ and EQ competencies as well as your technical skills. So mentoring was mutually beneficial. You honed your technical skills and you communicated them effectively to the HPP. If Pete is no longer pointing to you as having mentored him, perhaps he thinks he had already done this in the past as you yourself wrote.
Fourth. The role of mentor is very important to an organization’s growth and survival because a mentor contributes to the retention of HPPs who desire growth and development. One of the reasons why promising employees leave the company is the lack of opportunity for their growth and development. A mentor also shapes the mind and heart of a promising employee according to the culture of the company. Mentors ensure the growth of their profession, the organization and talented newcomers.
Your talents and skills come from God who expects you to share them with those who need and can benefit from them. Being a mentor has enabled you to exercise your stewardship of the gifts God has given you. So welcome and be grateful when you are given mentoring assignments.
Fifth, perform the best you can in your new role since you yourself said you can’t afford to quit. Be thankful that you have a job to do. Therefore, do it the best you can so you won’t have time to feel sorry for yourself.
Instead of feeling sorry for yourself, be happy, feel good and be proud of yourself that you have contributed to the growth of Pete, to the growth of your profession, to the growth and stability of your organization.
Don’t expect any award or formal recognition from the company and from the HPPs that you were assigned to mentor. Give yourself a pat on your back for your contribution to the growth and stability of your company and the retention of its precious human assets.
God bless you.
Josie O. Santamaria is a professional psychologist, certified life coach, a career coach and management consultant. She is the president of Career Systems, Inc., a management and human resource training and consulting company, operating for the past 30 years. For more information about her and Career Systems, Inc., log on to www.careersystems.com.ph. She can be reached for work/career issues thru her email address: firstname.lastname@example.org