Lesson 037: Mentoring the timid
TV Series: Star Trek - The Next Generation
Season/Episode: 7/15 ('Lower Decks')


A new Ensign recruit on board the Enterprise is berated by Capt. Picard for her taking part in the cover up of an accident at Starfleet academy which resulted in the death of a classmate Cadet.

The Ensign quietly accepts the scolding and fails to mention she had already paid for her wrong-doing by accepting severe punishments as pronounced by the academy.

Later, in a physical exercise test with her supervisor Worf, she is forced into a hand-to-hand combat, with only her being blindfolded.

After repeatedly being easily overpowered by Worf, she finally takes off her blindfold, objecting that the test is unfair. Worf tells her that test was indeed unfair, and that perhaps next time she is judged unfairly, it won't take so many bruises for her to stand up and protest.


One of the most fulfilling tasks of management is the act of mentoring.

The process of teaching the technical and procedural functions of assignments to staff is an academic process, and they can be easily accomplished with instructional guides and perhaps some personal tutoring when required.

However, it is a totally another matter when managers step up to mentor their staff. There are no written rules or manuals for this function.

To mentor someone is to relate personal knowledge that has been acquired through experience; to highlight nuances in organizational behavior that is not written in the Company Policies manual; to impart wisdom in exercising proper judgment; and above all, to motivate and bring forth within the individual being mentored, qualities, attributes and strengths they perhaps already possess within themselves, but of which they were not yet aware.

Worf is the iconic mentor here, teaching the student to overcome their inhibitions, reluctances and timidity in standing up for themselves in the face unjust treatment.

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