The One Thing about Mentoring Narcissists

(and other things you need to know)

Come closer, friends, we rarely bite. [Well, only when it’s worth the paperwork.]
In an effort to follow ideas and theories, trends and trendsetters in the areas of Mentoring, Future of Work, Employee Engagement — and all those buzzwords we hear which actually reflect important (and sometimes downright revolutionary!) changes in the way we work and live — we decided to open up our own spot. Here, we will be documenting headlines and important sources from which to draw when, for example, we are faced with a narcissistic mentee, or when contemplating the establishment of a mentorship program and wondering what benefits there are to be gained and whether we should believe the hype (Oh, yes. We should).

Photo by Ian Schneider

Instead of keeping all the wealth to ourselves we’ll be sharing it here, with you all, in the hope of getting to know you and your thoughts and ideas, as well. We intend to look for experts and ask them to share their experiences, to collect hard data and introduce new ideas, allowing us all to learn and grow in the process.

So come closer, Huddle up, and let’s begin:

“… not all narcissists are created equal. Only a few are truly maniacal egotists. And there are plenty of well-intentioned leaders and organizational game-changers who occupy some location on the narcissism spectrum.”

Narcissists may be a pain to mentor but, as with all mentees, they very well may be worth the time and effort invested in them, so we should at least try, right? 
There’s a slew of problems mentors may face when mentoring narcissists which can be circumvented by showing them empathy and helping them develop their self-awareness, showering them with positive appraisal in order to lower their defenses and helping them build their insight. However, at the same time, mentors should practice Self Care and limit the taxing interactions with their narcissistic mentees so as to avoid burnout.


Moving Ahead: Mentoring is Improving Gender Balance in Major Organizations — New Research
Business Wire, Sep 12, 2017

“More than 3000 years on from the Greek mythological origin of mentoring, it is being used to overcome present-day challenges of the gender pay gap, leadership equality and the conscious and unconscious biases that exist around gender.”

80% of subjects in a first of its kind research in the UK have reported feelings of empowerment, greater confidence and a meaningful relationship with their mentors, one of two-way inspiration for both sides.

The study has shown that structured, formal gender-based mentorship programs have resulted in women employees’ higher levels of confidence, have led to more empathetic employers, and are responsible for best practice for broader mentoring schemes in organizations.


Yes, Older Workers Need New Skills — But They Need Respect More 
The Guardian, Sep 22, 2017

“… the consensus is that [the BBC] needs to get more down with the kids. Hence this plan to turn traditional mentoring — which normally involves a successful silverback graciously passing on their accumulated wisdom to young hopefuls — on its head.”

As of October 2017, the BBC will be implementing a mentorship program in which “twenty-somethings” will mentor senior management, in order to help them understand and reach millenials. Criticized for focusing on middle-aged, middle class audiences, the BBC hopes to lure the younger audiences by employing this bottom-up model of mentorship. Even big corporations, such as Ernst & Young and Target are using reverse mentorship programs for the same basic reason.

Although the article in the Guardian uses this news to focus on the older generation in the workplace, we believe these reverse-mentoring programs planned and conducted by the BBC, Ernst & Young, Target and other major corporations to be an interesting trend to look out for and we can’t wait to read what they have learned in the process.


Have any thoughts on these articles you’d like to share? Read anything you think might be of interest to us and the rest of our readers? We would love for you to leave your comments down below or tag us on Twitter and Facebook using #huddlework

Brought to you by Anat Adomi Merhav, blogger & community manager @emerj.work, screenwriter. High concepts, low blood sugar.