Mentoring Can Be a Two-Way Street

4w_monblog300x300_022513Can you believe how quickly our technology gets labeled obsolete? I just replaced the Blackberry I got in 2010 when I joined Cassidy Turley with a new one last week. To me, a three-year hold was no big deal, but everyone else thought I was crazy not to want a touch screen. I’ve never been one to do something just because everyone thinks I should.


But I’m learning that’s the way it goes in the world of technology.


Actually, technology is a big focus for the women I meet while building the 4word organization. From the seasoned women on our board, to the 20-something leaders of our city chapters and on the 4word digital team, I see women learning how to adapt new platforms and devices into their work and personal lives.


It’s just been a bit more difficult for some than for others. And sometimes those of us more “seasoned” executives feel pressured to adopt the latest tech trends out of fear that our junior staff won’t respect us if we reveal a knowledge gap. While I think that we should feel confident in the gifts God has given us, I also don’t think we should let pride or fear keep us from asking for help from the women a generation behind us.


After I got my new Blackberry, 4word’s digital media manager, Amanda Battaglia, blessed me by coming to my home Tuesday night to teach me how to use Google Docs, post LinkedIn updates, and post photos on Twitter and Facebook.


I am actually having fun integrating Twitter and Facebook into my ministry at 4word. There is no other way that I can instantly share the encouraging messages I hear at events that feature inspiring brothers and sisters in Christ such as Tim Tebow, Gabrielle Douglas, Matthew West and Jim Collins.


It’s important for “seasoned” women to understand technology and how it affects their business. However, if you are in a leadership position, you’ve been placed in that role because of your strategic abilities to provide vision and foster relationships that move an organization forward.


As I told Amanda, if I fall behind in understanding technology trends, I’m not leading the organization. But that doesn’t mean that I need to know how to use every new technology tool that’s available. In fact, while it’s important that I understand and respond to my team’s needs technologically, it is even more important that I focus on using my gifts to drive our vision, foster relationships and build our leadership team. I focus on using the gifts God has given me, while giving Amanda the freedom to use the gifts God has given her to equip the team around her.


This is an important issue for women on both ends of the career ladder to recognize and work on together. Across 4word, we’ve been talking about the deep need for “reverse mentoring” to support professional women anxious about re-entering the workforce, or who want to grow their skills and understanding of technology trends to progress in their career path. Connecting women on both ends of the experience spectrum sharpens performance at every level of an organization, the way we’re called to in the body of Christ.


I am excited that 4word is planning to roll out a two-way mentoring program where “seasoned” women can mentor younger women around wisdom tied to experience and younger women can make seasoned women aware of what’s happening technologically. Our mentoring and membership website resources will launch tools later in 2013 to help women sharpen each other’s skills and broaden their knowledge base, so stay tuned!


In the meantime, we’re curious. How do you stay abreast of new technology trends affecting your industry? Do you read magazines or blogs on the topic? Do you have regular meetings with your CIO? Leave a comment, and share your tips with us.

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5 Responses to Mentoring Can Be a Two-Way Street

  1. Pingback: What Does It Look Like to “Trade on Your Strengths?” | 4word women

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  3. Lena says:

    I think there might be more to the “reverse mentoring” than just technology. . . just a thought. How about understanding the trends of the younger generations as a whole?

  4. Pingback: Learning to Work with New Technology | 4word women

  5. Michelle Sanderford says:

    When I started the Business Applications group for Lease Administration at CBRE – it was just a great idea that my boss and I came up with. As we moved along, we had to review not only the technology that we were currently using but what was new out there. Of course the internet was a great way to review other company websites but I alos subscribed to online technology and real estate publications, joined Linked in groups such as the IWMS group and kept in close contact with our internal IT group to look for ways to use commercial software like Sharepoint to reduce our use of paper and files. Four years later, we have a new document and workflow system, several Lease administration software packages, an internal time tracking system and our future plans are in the making.

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