Why It Is Important to be a Good Supply Chain Management Mentor

by Richard C. Wilson on October 18, 2013

You have likely heard about how important it is to have a mentor in supply chain management and/or BE a good supply chain management mentor. Whether your place of business has a formal mentor program or not, being a good supply chain management mentor can be an important move in your career.

Being a mentor does not mean that you have to enroll in a formal program or relationship with someone, it can be as casual and informal as you wish.  However, it is important to understand the types of mentoring relationships and what is expected.

The workplace mentor

If you are a workplace mentor, you are a mentor to another supply chain management professional in your workplace. This may mean that you establish a formal mentoring relationship with someone that has asked for your mentoring. They may wish to work with you to understand the supply chain management profession better and seek advice on his or her career from you. Your company may or may not have a formal program but you can establish a formal relationship with a colleague and help them navigate a career in supply chain management

You may also be providing informal supply chain management career advice to others in your workplace; this would be considered an informal mentoring relationship.  You may find that an informal mentoring relationship is a fun way to develop mentoring relationships in your workplace. Or you may simply, one day, realize you have entered into a mentoring relationships with a colleague over time and barely realized it. Either way, a workplace mentoring relationship can be advantageous to both the individual you are mentoring and you.

The networking mentor

Another type of mentoring relationship you may find yourself involved in is a networking mentoring relationship. In this case, you may not work with the individual seeking your advice and guidance but they are likely in your field and feel you are a good professional resource and seeks you out to establish a relationship with in order to further their career.  This can be good for both parties in that it provides a solid networking relationship as well as a mentoring relationship between two professionals. In some cases it may not even be a person in the supply chain management field, but the individual is simply looking for a general mentor to guide them in a professional manner. Whether they are in the field of supply chain management or not is irrelevant, you may find that this type of mentoring relationships is just as valuable as one that is in your profession.

Whether you are in a formal or informal mentor relationship in your workplace, you will likely find that you are helping a colleague understand the progression of a career in supply chain management, how the company hires and promotes, and what the company leadership looks for in those wishing to advance. If you are establishing a formal or informal mentoring relationship outside your workplace, you may be advising an individual on general resume/cover letter etiquette, interview preparation, and career progression. You may also be speaking with a fellow professional about their plans and helping them to pinpoint their professional goals to best understand how they should pursue their professional career track.  Either way, you are likely to benefit from any mentoring relationship you establish and find it both rewarding and interesting.  Therefore, even if you are not sought out as a mentor, it cannot hurt to seek out someone that you feel you can help and then provide them with some guidance to help them further their supply chain management career.

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