By: Tammy McCausland
Patty Saponaro, Associate Chair for Administration at UNC Radiation Oncology, presented on mentoring and being mentored.
The leader’s role is to be curious, to keep learning, and to teach others, she said. You have to start with the work (what work needs to be done) and knowing what you have to offer and what the person wants. In doing so, you’re asking the person to be self-reflective about why they’re seeking mentorship.
Skills and traits can be seen and developed in a mentoring relationship. Mentorship can be task-specific, ongoing or for succession planning. The mentor is teaching while they’re doing, she said.
Saponaro said the person being mentored takes the lead: what do they need/want; and what is their worksite, role, and experience. She recommends creating a charter that includes how often to meet; setting aims/goals and how to know they’ve been met; and creating a confidential, safe space. The mentor should also ask for feedback from the mentee.
The mentor has the opportunity to draw the connections between the mentee and the organization. In radiation oncology, achieving a customer focus is key.
She suggested a good question to use: “What would it look like . . .?” (if you were happy as an employee, a leader, etc.). This question can help guide the mentoring relationship.
Saponaro highlighted the presence of informal mentorship opportunities within professional associations (e.g., SROA). Informal mentorships can benefit from an informal charter. We often need something specific, she said: HR, budgeting, strategic planning, linac replacement/construction project, staffing ratios, etc. Informal mentoring allows for more targeted help.
You have to know something well in order to teach it, Saponaro said. The better you know it, the more you can teach it.
Saponaro highlighted the benefits of mentoring to all parties:
She referenced several books:
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