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Acting Ethically in a Mentoring Relationship

Every office has its problems, gaps in communication, breaches of confidence, and gossip. Unfortunately, these kinds of unethical behaviors can chip away at employee morale, damage a company’s credibility, and even destroy its competitive edge.

In a mentoring relationship, you may have access to confidential information, or you may discuss company problems. In any case, your mentor will expect you to communicate openly, help with rumor control, show loyalty, and stand up for what you believe in.

Communicate openly

The first ethical behavior that’s important to your professional life and mentoring relationship is communicating openly — and honestly.

Your mentor should give you direct, honest feedback on your job skills. And she expects honesty from you.

As a protégé, you should be at liberty to discuss your thoughts, concerns, mistakes, and any problems without fearing these will damage the relationship or your efforts to advance in your career. Your mentor, on the other hand, should be at liberty to openly discuss your performance, including any mistakes and areas for improvement.

In the course of discussions with your mentor, you may be entrusted with privileged information that should not be shared with other employees. Essential to open communication between a mentor and protégé is an underlying trust and confidence that both parties will safeguard sensitive and confidential information and not share it.