Riddle me this: which superhero knows a thing or two about good mentorship?
By Darryl Glen
Staff Accountant | Audit and Advisory
This post is going to be about mentoring. But it’s also going to be about Batman. The Dark Knight is not just (arguably) the world’s most popular comic book hero, but he’s also great for analogies. Batman, while a bit of a lone wolf, always had people he kept close. People who knew his true identity, Bruce Wayne. In terms of mentorship, these important relationships fulfilled three key roles.
1. Alfred, his mentor.
Alfred was a constant source of wisdom for Bruce, even when Bruce didn’t necessarily want his advice. Mentorship is something that’s talked about a lot in the business world, but it’s not always something people tell you how to do. If you don’t have the good fortune of Batman, living with a wise, old butler with a lifelong dedication to your family, you will likely need to seek out a mentor yourself.
2. Superman, his peer.
While having a mentor is incredibly important, that doesn’t mean you can only learn from those who are older, more educated, or in a higher position. Peer mentoring is also incredibly powerful. Batman and Superman certainly had their differences, but through their conversations, disagreements, and epic battles, they were able to learn as well. Help your peers. Learn from your peers. At school and in your career, this is likely the largest group of people you will have relationships with and will often provide the greatest number of opportunities.
3. Robin, his mentee.
Yeah, Robin was bit of a goofball. Yeah, he desperately needed Batman’s guidance, which was provided with patience (most of the time). Mentoring someone is also valuable, and not just to the person receiving the mentorship. Teaching and advising someone is one of the best ways to reinforce and exercise your own knowledge and skills. It can also be incredibly satisfying to mentor someone and then see them excel in their field. You can claim partial credit for that (Batman was responsible for at least 87% of Robin’s success).
Personally, I like framing my professional relationships like this. Yes, most people are familiar with the concept of mentoring. But have you pursued a mentor you really admire? Do you use your peer connections effectively to teach and to learn? Do you have anyone you can call your protégé? If you answered “yes” to all three questions, well done! Batman would approve.
Darryl is a recent graduate from MacEwan University with a major in accounting. He is currently a Staff Accountant in our Edmonton practice.