What do Luke Skywalker, Harry Potter, Robin, and Spider-Man have in common? All of these renowned characters are the product of exceedingly impactful mentors. Everyone knows the ability of a hero to harness and control their power started with mentorship. Obi-Wan Kenobi, Albus Dumbledore, Batman, and Uncle Ben–are sometimes unsung, yet highly revered. The latter’s permeating jewel of wisdom: “With great power, comes great responsibility.”, is a testament to the importance of guidance.
We, just like these legendary characters, owe at least a little of our own mantras and maxims to a mentor figure, whether that figure was our parent, supervisor, or friend. For those of us fortunate to have had sagely mentors, we know the feeling of enlightenment and support that comes from being taken under one’s wing.
If we try, we can recall the astute advice of those who helped shape us, advice that we still apply in our personal and professional lives. Our mentors all had a lasting impact on us, however great or small–even something as seemingly trivial as our mom reminding us to clean our room allowed us to see the merits of an organized workspace.
Wisdom and knowledge are our great power to share with those who are also learning, those who are standing where we once stood. We need not look far for these aspiring prodigies. Chances are they are working around us even now. Pew Research Center determined Millennials now comprise the largest demographic of the US labor force. Our own employees and colleagues are eager to evolve. However, In the wake of the global pandemic, the labor market has become a dubious arena. It is, doubtlessly, a daunting time to be a developing professional at any level. However, it is perhaps an equally daunting time to be an employer, as the US Labor Department found that a startling number of employees are resigning from their jobs, an event now called “The Great Resignation.”
Perhaps this post-pandemic workforce is executing its exodus from the workplace, not in protest or reluctance, but simply because it’s seeking employers who are willing to offer flexibility, balance, and, ultimately, a happier existence. Our modern-day workforce is seeking mentors, seeking the Obi-Wan Kenobis and Albus Dumbledores out there who care enough to be more than a boss, but a luminous guide through the sinister shadows of these uncertain times.
In her TED Talk, author Danita Bye emphasizes the need for leaders to become more than bosses, expressing that job retention can be achieved through a willingness to become mentors. Bye asserts that today’s employees want to “know that they matter.”
Maybe we’ve moved past wanting to be Luke Skywalker, Harry Potter, Robin, and Spider-Man. Maybe today the responsibility is ours to become Obi-Wan, Albus Dumbledore, Batman, and Uncle Ben. No matter your level—take a protege under your wing, give them a cape, guide them with the light of your wand, and bestow advice that will inspire their growing careers.
“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”
— Isaac Newton
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