The importance of reverse (tech) mentorship for CEOs

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By Frik van der Westhuizen, CEO of EQPlus

Reverse mentorship, when a more experienced or higher-ranking individual seeks guidance and knowledge from a junior or less experienced employee, has grown in prominence in recent years. This can at least partly be attributed to the rapidly evolving digital environment. It is especially CEOs that have been embracing this as the means to stay current with technology innovations and what some of the current trends are.

Technology is constantly evolving. It can be challenging for any individual, let alone a CEO with a busy schedule, to stay up-to-date with all the latest developments. By engaging in reverse mentorship, the CEO has the opportunity to learn directly from someone who is more familiar with the technology landscape. This can help the CEO stay ahead of the curve and ensure that the business is not left behind as digital solutions advance.

Different viewpoints

Adopting a reverse mentorship strategy also allows for the sharing of diverse perspectives and experiences. While the CEO may have a wealth of knowledge and experience in their own field, they may not necessarily have the same level of familiarity with technology.

By engaging in reverse mentorship, the CEO can learn from someone who has a different perspective and may have another approach to problem-solving. This can help the CEO broaden their own understanding of technology and gain a more well-rounded perspective on how it can be used to drive business success.

For the mentee, it can provide significant insights into how the leadership structure of the organisation works and also expose them to different ideas about how the company is run, how strategy development takes place, and other critical areas they might not ordinarily have access to.

Learning culture

Reverse mentorship can also be a valuable way for CEOs to foster a culture of learning and development within their organisation. By seeking out mentorship from junior employees, the CEO is demonstrating that they value the knowledge and expertise of all employees, regardless of their level of experience or position. This can help create a more positive and inclusive work culture, which can, in turn lead to improved employee engagement and productivity.

Another benefit is that this can be a valuable way for CEOs to build relationships and foster collaboration within the company. By engaging in mentorship with junior employees, the CEO has the opportunity to get to know them on a more personal level and understand their unique strengths and abilities. This can help build stronger relationships as employees feel more connected and valued by their leaders.

Opportunity for change

There is no arguing the fact that reverse mentorship can be an important tool for CEOs who want to learn technology skills. It allows for the sharing of diverse perspectives and experiences, fosters a culture of learning and development, and helps to build strong relationships and collaboration within the business.

Those CEOs who are willing to embrace this change in approach will not only ensure their companies can stay relevant but also well positioned to benefit from upskilling and reskilling their employees.