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So, who is your mentor?

chandigarh Updated: Jul 31, 2014 12:18 IST
Shreya Jain
Shreya Jain
Hindustan Times


With a new generation, come new ideologies, new technologies and a new way of life. Fortunately, our culture, more or less, has open-mindedly welcomed this transition period and is ready to make the best out of it.

‘Reverse mentoring’, surprisingly unfamiliar to a lot of people, is one such practice which helps one learn from the younger generation who are faster, technologically more advanced and a little bit ahead at multitasking. This model of role reversal enables the mentor to learn from what the employee has to offer. So what if it is not on paper?

BridBridging the generation gap

Capt Naresh K Kakkar, general manager (human resources) of a leading pharmaceutical company in Mohali, tells us about the open and workfriendly environment in his office. “Every time a trainee completes their tenure, we ask them for feedback, suggestions and opinions to incorporate them into our workplace. Sometimes, these youngsters come up with such brilliant ideas and practical solutions, simply because they have a new approach to it. They don’t come with baggage and are not bound by preconceived notions or methods.”

He also adds how this healthy practice not only benefits the company but is also a morale booster for mentees who feel more confident. Although city firms, even the big shots, are clearly not accustomed to this new thought process, many eventually came out with stories that show that it is not such an uncommon practice after all.

“We are now familiar with the term as a part of our text. I have read several articles about the same in journals, although am not very sure if the city is as aware of it yet. I believe, what it actually means is scraping off the generation gap and widening learning opportunities, to realise that knowledge and learning has no age bar,” says Sahil Choudhary, a Chandigarh lad pursuing management in Mumbai.

Weekend lessons

Akshat Rana, executive assistant to managing director, Vardhman Chemtech Ltd, (a Chandigarh-based pharmaceutical industry) tells us how, although unaware of the term, the concept seems familiar. “Every Saturday, I sit with my boss and practice the working of high-end functions in Excel and other software.”

“It is surprising to note how extensively students are able to research on and gain knowledge about a topic,” says Vidya Puranik, a teacher in Vivek High School, Mohali. She explained how Vivek is one of the very few schools to practice ‘flip-teaching’, a similar concept where young minds between 14 and 18 years are given a topic to explore and then asked to present in class. “This way, we stay updated on new ideas these kids come up with. Their innovation always takes us by surprise,” she adds.

Looks like Chandigarh is fast catching up with trends! Or as PB Shelley wrote, “O Wind, If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?”