Every relationship can have problems. No matter how you screen each other, sometimes a mentorship can go wrong from both sides of the aisle. The best thing to do is to pay attention and then get out of the situation as professionally as possible. Let’s look at a few scenarios that could happen and how to deal with them.
Your Personalities Don’t Mesh
You should notice quickly if there is a problem with your personalities not meshing well. Taking time to get to know each other will pay off in any mentorship situation. Make it clear from day one that you’ll reassess after a short period of time, say six weeks, and either can bow out of the situation without any issues.
Your Mentee Does the Opposite
If you start to realize that your mentee can’t do anything you suggest and does the opposite to their ruin, then you may want to call them on it. Tell them that while you don’t expect them to be robots and do exactly what you say, if they can’t do any of it then there is a problem with personality between you two and they need to find someone else.
Your Mentor Thinks Young People Are Ignorant
If you’re a mentee and you start to realize that your mentor things "millennials" are ignorant or spoiled or any type of stereotype that could affect your ability to trust their ideas and advice, then it’s time to move on from the situation. You will want to just be straightforward and honest that you need to be with someone who isn’t judgmental of youth.
Someone Is Racist
Even if you’re not a person of color, being around someone who says racist things can be very hard. You will need to determine whether they should be reported to HR. The first thing you may want to do is ask them to repeat what they’ve said and asked them straight out if they don’t think that’s racist. If they back off, you might give them another chance, but if they don’t you may want to report them and get out of the situation.
Someone Is Sexist
The same thing can be said about being sexist. This is not a good thing and isn’t good to be around. You don’t want to learn to be a sexist and you don’t want to be around sexist behavior. Tell them straightforwardly that you think this is bad behavior on their part and end the situation if they don’t realize their ways are wrong.
It Gets Too Personal
This doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. If it’s not against the rules in your workplace and you fall in love, that’s okay, but you need a different mentor. But if it’s a sexually harassing situation, you’ll want to report it. If it’s just a relationship that has grown into a strong friendship, you’ll still want to find a new mentor.
The biggest advice you need is to take time to get to know someone before becoming or asking them to mentor you. Avoiding these problems to start with is the best course of action. But if you see it going downhill, find a way to get out of the situation in a professional manner.