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Mentoring a Genius

silver rubiks cube

Part of my current role involves being responsible for the training and development of a 21-year-old genius. I've always wondered about the addage that good leaders are secure not being the smartest person in the room, but now I've had a chance to experience it.

What's easy about this situation is his inherent knowledge of the project; I can go to him with any question or bug I'm stumped with. So from the outset we decided my contribution to his career will be communication and leadership skills.

We've watched him grow in a few short months from a shy wallflower whose presence in meetings was often missed, to filling in for me in department-side stand-ups relaying the status of every espect of the project. I've never had to spoon-feed him anything, just point him in the right direction while providing encouragement. I always try to underline everything with 'as a senior engineer, you'll be doing X, Y, Z' so he gets our intention is his growth.

No tips on mentoring here; We're making it up as we go along and of course every individual is different. Most templates for mentoring advice don't fit our unique sitation. But hopefully when you mentor your mentee is as smart as mine.