Tag: Harvard Business Review

Young woman talking with older coworker. Reverse mentoring allows junior employees to advise their more senior colleagues.

Rik Nemanick, an adjunct lecturer in organizational behavior at Olin, poses this scenario in a new Harvard Business Review article:

You’re 15 months into your first job out of college when a senior leader from human resources asks to meet with you. About mentoring … him.


At the meeting, he says he wants to improve your firm’s recruiting practices: “I think you could teach me about what young professionals are expecting these days. I’d love it if you and I could meet over the next few months, and you could ‘mentor’ me on what to do.”

How do you respond?

“Reverse mentorships can be incredibly valuable,” Nemanick said. They promote diversity, help bridge generational gaps and can help you hone your leadership skills.

But they also create dynamics that can pose hurdles and potential risks for the junior employee.

In traditional mentoring, the mentor holds a more senior position and uses their wisdom to guide a junior colleague. When the roles are swapped, it’s called “reverse mentoring,” and it takes work.

“Being a reverse mentor can feel intimidating, especially if you’re new to the workplace,” writes Nemanick, who is the author of the book “The Mentor’s Way.” That book is the culmination of more than 20 years of mentoring training and consulting.

Find out about reverse mentoring in Nemanick’s article, “Are you ready to mentor a more senior colleague?”

Ashley Hardin

How should employees handle personal difficulties in a professional setting? “To disclose or not to disclose” is often the question, and is the crux of Harvard Business Review’s “What to Do When a Personal Crisis Is Hurting Your Professional Life.”

The author, HBR contributing editor Amy Gallo, turns to several organizational behavior experts to answer this question, including Olin Prof. Ashley Hardin:

It’s better to share if you feel OK doing so
If you do feel that it’s safe to share, it’s often better to do so. “We’ve been encouraged to keep the boundaries between private and professional distinct, but that’s not always helpful,” says Anne Kreamer, author of It’s Always Personal. In fact, research by Ashley Hardin, a professor at Washington University’s Olin Business School, shows that when you allow coworkers to discover more about your personal life, they are more motivated to meet your needs. “If the situation is interfering with your ability to complete your job, it’s likely that your coworkers may already realize something is amiss, and in that case you are better off letting them in on what is going on,” Hardin explains. You can also give permission to your close colleagues to share your circumstances with other coworkers if it is too difficult for you to tell them directly. “This type of indirect disclosure can open up a space for your teammates to brainstorm ways to help you,” Hardin adds.

Check out the full post on Harvard Business Review.

[RELATED: How to restore civility to the workplace]

Ashley E. Hardin, assistant professor of organizational behavior, co-authors a post published on the Harvard Business Review that calls for more compassion in the workplace. The authors advocate for a more compassionate and connected workforce in an age when technology facilitates isolation and discourages civil behavior and interaction.

Restoring compassion to the workplace, the authors suggest, will not only improve the working environment, but it will also have a positive impact on productivity:

“If people feel like they belong and genuinely care about one another, they will be more creative, resilient, and eager to contribute at work.”

Hardin’s coauthors, Monica C. Worline and Jane E. Dutton, are co-founders of the CompassionLab, the world’s leading collaboratory for research on compassion and work organizations. They define compassion this way:

“A 4-part experience of noticing someone’s distress or pain, interpreting it as relevant and important, feeling concern for that person or group, and acting to alleviate their pain.”

Expressing compassion can range from small gestures to heroic acts of generosity and life-saving support in times of need, according to the authors.

Read: “Forming Stronger Bonds with People at Work.”

About Ashley Hardin

Prior to pursuing her PhD and joining Olin, Professor Hardin worked as a Senior Associate Consultant for Bain & Company and the Bridgespan Group.

Her research interests include relationships, affect, work-life boundaries, and unethical behavior.