What's Your Problem?

Management Today, January 1, 2013 | Go to article overview

What's Your Problem?


Q: I recently and reluctantly agreed informally to mentor three junior colleagues and felt rather pushed into it by my manager. What was promised to me as a low-effort commitment is now turning into something burdensome. I'm loath to stay in this position but now feel tied to doing this. How can I extricate myself without upsetting too many people?

A: You'll upset a lot of people only if you leave three junior colleagues without mentoring support and your manager with a serious gap to fill. So rather than trying to extricate yourself, you need to work out a practical way of replacing yourself; or at least most of yourself In other words, don't go back to your manager with the problem; go with a workable solution.

For example, see if you can cut your responsibility from three juniors to one. Could you persuade two of your same-level colleagues to agree to mentor one junior each? There must be some career advantages in taking on such a role - as long as it's not, as in your case, overdemanding. …

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