Want to get ahead at work? Add “Big Brother/Sister” to your resume.

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We often share stories and research of the ways that mentoring improves the lives of our Littles, and of course, it does. But any Big will tell you that they get a lot out of the relationship they have with their Little, too. A new study published in the Journal of Vocational Behavior supports the idea that mentoring can be beneficial for the mentor, too.

Researchers found that when mentors supported a young person or a colleague, they often reported more success in their own lives, personal and professional.

People who volunteered as mentors in their workplace said that by acting as a role model for a mentee, they had greater success in their own careers. “Compared to colleagues who did not mentor, individuals who served as mentors within their workplace reported greater job satisfaction and commitment to the organization,” the study said.

Youth mentoring, through organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters, helped mentors develop a bond with their community, leading to improvements in many areas:

  • Professional success: In matches where mentors provided coaching and sponsorship, mentors saw an improvement in their own career success. Relationships with stronger, more resilient bonds led to even greater advantages.
  • Workplace commitment: When mentors supported their mentees in their workplace, through counseling, friendship and role modeling, mentors were more committed to their workplace.
  • Job performance: Mentors who acted as role models for their mentees reported better job performance.

So what we’ve heard anecdotally from Bigs for years is now supported by the research: mentoring is a two-way street, and the benefits of serving as a role model improve the lives of mentors in unexpected ways.

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