Fuel for Thought
Merriam-Webster’s definition of mentor: someone who teaches or gives help and advice to a less experienced often younger person.
Mentoring can be rewarding for both parties involved. The mentor is able to pass along the knowledge they have acquired through their education or experiences. The mentee, or protege, gains valuable knowledge to help further their education or career.
Truckers have always been known to help those in need. Mentoring, or informally, advising other drivers, used to be commonplace. It is still very much a part of trucking today, however, many seem to believe that by advising other less experienced drivers that they are somehow helping their competition. To a degree this may hold true, but, mentoring other drivers can be valuable to the mentor as well. A new driver may bring a fresh approach to solve a problem when the experienced driver has become set in their ways. When we do the same thing for a long period of time, we can become complacent. Just going along day to day not looking for a better way to get a particular task done. Along comes a rookie and sees a different approach to the solution.
Mentoring or sharing information with fellow drivers can also force you to step up and improve your business. When I advise a fellow driver, now they know how to do something properly, exactly as I would and now I must work to increase my value to be one step above them. We should always strive to be the very best we can be and mentoring can force you out of your rut of doing the same old same old.
Everyone has the ability to mentor someone. We all have had different experiences and those differences should be shared. We can all be mentors and mentees.
For mentors, there is also a good feeling of satisfaction knowing that you helped someone and you could very well learn from them as well. It could be something as simple as how to properly install tire chains or a better fuel discount. It could be just a little tip on properly securing a load or even changing a headlamp. Everyone starts at the beginning and not knowing something doesn’t mean they cannot learn, but they must be taught somehow. Mentoring others doesn’t mean giving up your confidential business contacts or financials.
For mentees, or proteges, the information shared is priceless. No one comes into this world with all the answers, knowledge is acquired through experience. A few tips from fellow drivers that have more experience can help keep you from making the same mistakes the mentor has already learned from. You just have to be able to receive advice or criticism and accept it as good will. In trucking, it is very possible some of the advice could save your life or other driver’s lives around you.
While there are official mentoring programs available, you do not have to be an “official” mentor, we all have the ability to help others as the opportunity arises. We just have to be receptive to taking advice from others and also recognizing when others could use our help and step up to the plate.
Expeditersonline.com is an excellent source for giving or getting advice.
The open forum has many seasoned veterans in the expedite side of trucking, as well as fleet owners all willing to give helpful advice.
If you find one of your fellow drivers in need of help, help them. You may be the one needing help the next time you cross paths with them.
See you down the road,
Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other .
- John F. Kennedy