How to Deal With a Workplace Mentor Who Seems to Hate You

In the corporate world, a workplace mentor is supposed to help you, guide you and to do everything possible to protect your wellness and wellbeing in the workplace. In reality, things can be a little difficult.


Frequently, someone who is assigned to be a ‘mentor’ may not actually be the best person for the job. Some people find that they have a personality clash with their mentor and simply do not get on. This can lead to the one person they are supposed to be able to rely on actually shutting them out of workplace activities, giving them incorrect information or sabotaging efforts that they make at work.


If you find that your mentor seems to hate you, first of all – try not to take it personally. A workplace is a competitive environment, and it may simply be that your mentor feels threatened by your presence for some reason, or finds the role of mentoring you to be an additional burden on top of an already stressful workload.


It’s also worth bearing in mind that whatever title has been given, someone who is not helpful and supportive is not really your mentor in any sense of the word. Instead, you are quite free to look around the workplace and find an older or more senior member of staff who would like to help show you the ropes, and gravitate more towards them.


Do be polite to your formal mentor, though, as her mentoring of you may be part of an HR programme and she may be reporting back to HR about how you are settling in. Don’t directly fall out with her or fail to respond to her.


If your mentor behaves badly, a good trick is to ask yourself what you can learn from this behaviour. It may be that your own job is not up to scratch, or it may be that there is something you can learn from their attitude – and it’s always worth asking them, ‘Is there some way I could have handled XYZ better?’ which will help them to either explain their behaviour or at least feel a bit embarrassed!

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