There comes a point in everyone’s career when they are charged with managing an intern or a team member. This is more than your job, it’s a responsibility that can greatly affect the future of your team members. Interns look for positions to gain job experience and junior level staff look to learn and grow from their senior peers and managers. Providing feedback is a key part in mentoring a team member to produce the kind of work that you, your company, and clients expect.
Here are a few tips for managers to consider when providing feedback/mentorship to interns and junior level staff.
- Create the right mix of honesty and encouragement: Provide truthful feedback that helps them learn what they can do better, while also providing positive affirmation by pointing out what they’ve done well.
- Set expectations: From the first day, let your team members know the types of projects they will be working on, the importance of each part of the work, and the standards expected. Explaining the full picture of the projects helps them realize the important role even simple research can play, thus making them want to do even the mundane work well.
- Provide examples: It always works best to provide samples to similar project work. This allows the intern/team member to evaluate what kind of outcome is expected.
- Create a continuous learning experience: The review process is part of the learning experience, so set feedback check-ins to review parts of the project throughout the process. This will allow the team member to continue to improve while ensuring that they also understand. Once they have a grasp on the work, these check-ins can become less frequent.
- Share the process that works for you: Sharing tips about what works for you can be useful to help them develop good work habits. This can range from telling them how you approach a project to walking away from something they’ve written for a few hours and coming back to it to proof with fresh eyes.
- Share your experiences: We have all been in their shoes and have a few of our own war stories. Be relateable to them by sharing some of your experiences, especially the times where you faced hardships/struggled.
Using these tips can help create an effective team and gives interns and team members a positive experience that can have a lasting impact on their career. It often will lead to you being considered a trusted mentor.