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Mentoring From The 'Hart'
by Staff Sgt. Michael E. Davis Jr., Maryland National Guard - December 27, 2014

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“I like what Raquel (Trooper of the Quarter – MD Line, Summer Edition) said: you need one person you're helping, one peer that you're developing with – someone to support you day to day – and then you need that well-roundedness from three mentors above you,” Hart said.

Self Evaluation
Bring me your bio


Before you even take a step toward looking for a mentor, you should:

  • Seek someone who works in your desired career field or has your desired status in life.
  • Conduct a self-evaluation. This step can be executed before or during the initial meeting between the prot�g� and mentor.

“The first thing I normally do when someone ask me to be their mentor is tell them to bring me their bio,” Hart said. “When you write your military bio, you're really doing a self evaluation. You're breaking down your past and your present. So you can say, well, I didn't deploy, I need a deployment or I need my degree, or I need this level of experience.”

November 21, 2014 - Command Chief Master Sgt. Glenn D. Hart, senior enlisted adviser for the Maryland National Guard shares his experience and knowledge on mentorship with Soldiers and Airmen in five phases. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Michael E. Davis Jr., Maryland National Guard Public Affairs Office)
November 21, 2014 - Command Chief Master Sgt. Glenn D. Hart, senior enlisted adviser for the Maryland National Guard shares his experience and knowledge on mentorship with Soldiers and Airmen in five phases. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Michael E. Davis Jr., Maryland National Guard Public Affairs Office)

The prot�g� could determine their strengths and weaknesses by reading through their bio and determining what they have accomplished and what they haven't. “Let's say maybe their weaknesses are in writing or speaking,” Hart said. “What I'll do is, through networking, pair them up with someone who can help them in their weak spots.”

Hart then said once he learns his prot�g�'s strengths, he can now place them in the seat to teach someone else. Self-evaluation is the first step toward mentorship, but it will help you learn more about yourself and likely to lead you to a productive relationship with a mentor.

The prot�g� and the mentor relationship
Both parties win if they practice communication and work as a team

Communication is the key to a healthy and constructive relationship with your mentor. Hart suggests that there should be constant communication between the prot�g� and the mentor. Communication may not be face-to-face, but both parties should agree on a system that doesn't conflict with their work or family schedule.

Hart also said that the mentor should give homework assignments to the prot�g� that aims them towards a particular goal. Just as the mentor needs to be proactive in developing the young Soldier or Airman, that prot�g� needs to be serious as well and complete the assignments for their own self-development.

The mentor wants to teach while the prot�g� desires to learn; both parties win if they practice communication and work as a team.

Your Accountability Partner
Seek encouragement and inspiration when aiming for a specific goal


Find someone on your level who you can motivate and whom you can seek motivation from. Hart said you and your peer, or accountability partner, should be motivating each other and bouncing ideas off of one another. Seek someone who serves as an encourager for bad days.

“You're going to have good days and bad days and it's nice to have that support group,” Hart said.

Taking advice from inspirational speaker, John C. Maxwell, Hart said he finds an enthusiastic Soldiers or Airmen when he feels he needs some encouragement. “I walk around the armory and I find some young person that's got stars in her eyes who says ‘One day I'm going to make E-7 or I'm going on this deployment,' they make me feel good,” Hart said.

You should seek a peer or accountability partner who is an encourager.

The Mentor
Mentorship is a team effort that improves the organization


Your life doesn't just center on your work or personal goals. You should have at least one mentor for every function of your lifestyle. “I say three mentors because you're going to get different perspectives and you want that in different MOS' [military occupational skill] or different career fields,” Hart said, referring to occupations.

Multiple mentors will keep you well balanced in your goals. Those goals may be excelling in your civilian job, family and school or simply excelling in three different areas of the Army or Air Force.

“They [Soldier/Airman] should have a strategic view of what's going on and how their specific MOS or AFSC [Air Force Specialty Code] plays a big picture to get the mission done in the Army or the Air Force,” Hart said.

Mentorship is a team effort and the mission is to not only improve themselves, but their organization as well. Mentorship should act as a succession of development amongst the Soldiers and Airmen in the MDNG. The one being helped today should aspire to become the helper for tomorrow. Hart's method of connecting mentors to network becomes a cycle and an equation for success. A developed Service member plus another developed Service member is likely to equal to a developed Army and Air Force.

Reverse Mentorship
You're never too old to be mentored and don't be afraid to be mentored by a subordinate


Seek help, even if it's from someone of younger age. John F. Welch, Jr., chief executive officer of General Electric from 1981-2001, is said to have discovered the method of reverse mentoring. He describes it as the younger generation teaching the older generation. According to Technopedia, reverse mentoring refers to an initiative in which older executives are paired with and mentored by younger employees on topics such as technology, social media, and current trends.

“That [reverse mentorship] is a term used in the civilian world,” Hart said. Hart mentioned that he read an article about this method and how people are using it in civilian organizations. To him, what he read made sense and he decided to put it to the test in the MDNG.

After practicing some of the things he learned, Hart realized that it works. You should not allow pride to get the best of you when seeking mentorship. “You're never too old to be mentored and don't be afraid to be mentored by a subordinate,” Hart said.

Mentor: An experienced and trusted advisor. “When you mentor someone, you're like cloning them,” Hart said. That being said, Soldiers and Airmen, make you sure you are following the Seven Army Values and the Air Force Core Values when mentoring for a more vigilant MDNG, state and Nation.

By U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Michael E. Davis Jr.
Maryland National Guard
Provided through DVIDS
Copyright 2014

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