February 18, 2023 at 1:03 pm #6755
The topic at hand is an important one as the influence of factors defining both identity and diversity and how they affect mentoring relationships cannot be overemphasized. Especially in this day and age and considering how people differently look at issues pertaining to identity and diversity, it will erroneous for anyone to think these two important ideologies or factors have no role to play when it comes to mentorship. It therefore in the right and highly recommended to discuss the strings each concept pulls on mentoring a as a process.
To begin, an understanding of the definitions: identity and diversity, is essential for the successful submission of a meaningful discussion on this important topic. Identity refers to a person’s distinct collection of features that may be used to define them as themselves and no one else. These features may include, beliefs and ideologies and are often stemmed from a psychological, cultural and religious background. It both defines what an individual thinks of him/herself and what he/she thinks of others as well. On the other hand, diversity is a deliberate practice or attribute of incorporating or involving individuals from a variety of socioeconomic, ethnic, and gender backgrounds for the purposes of achieving a common goal. Here, strength of the diverse group is derived from the individual differences rather than seeing that as a source of weakness and this has been proven to be true over the years.
Quotes like: “Diversity is a fact, but inclusion is a choice we make every day. As leaders, we have to put out the message that we embrace and not just tolerate diversity.”-Nellie Borrero; We are greater than, and greater for, the sum of us.”–Heather McGhee; “Why be a star when you can make a constellation?”–Mariam Kaba, and “I can tell you, without diversity, creativity remains stagnant.”–Edward Enninful, are not just succinctly philosophical but truthfully powerful (Chally.com .,2023). Systems have always thrived on diversity (Youngblood .,1997).
Mentoring has always been between two or more people where the mentor confers knowledge to the mentee. Being an activity between two or more people connotes the greater chance of the people involved having their own identities. For a mentor to accept a mentee or vice versa, it will only be possible when there is a common ground between the two with regards to identity. Both parties must have been well identified with each other’s personality and have accepted to proceed with the thought of mentorship. That to me is very much foundational to the success of the mentoring relationship. For example, a Sanguine will always misunderstand a Melancholic for always being reserved and pensive while the later may also not be able to accept the outgoing and outspoken nature of the Sanguine. The Bible puts it better by saying “Can two people walk together, without agreeing on the direction” Bible:Amos 3:3- New Living Translation)
Irrespective of one’s personality, one important positive influence of mentoring relationships is diversity. Everyone is unique in themselves, and it will only be good to get exposed and learn from what others are as in every relationship, the parties involved imbibe knowledge from each other. For example, an African Mentor and an Asian mentee stand a great chance of achieving much more than they could individually achieve as the element of the presenting diversity originating from the two different geographical regions will influence their work. Here, the Asian mentee gets to know how the African mentor will think through a matter at hand while the African mentor also learns how the Asian mentee adapts to learning different things.
In my opinion, a good understanding of our personalities coupled with a perfect blend of diversity is essential every mentoring relationship. No one is an island (Donne and Fallon ., 1988) .Just like a tree can only thrive in a good soil, effective mentoring can only thrive in environment where knowledge of one’s identity and the quest to accept diversity is embraced. I will conclude by asking my colleagues how they think ignoring either of the two factors: Identity and Personality, can create any good mentoring relationship.
Donne, J., & Fallon, K. (1988). No man is an island. Souvenir.
Bible:Amos 3:3- New Living Translation
Youngblood, M. D. (1997). Leadership at the edge of chaos: from control to creativity. Strategy & Leadership, 25(5), 8-14.
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