Guideline Three | Be generous

3. Be willing to share ideas and take delight in seeing your young researchers succeed and further develop

"Mark's magnanimity in sharing his own ideas and delight in seeing others succeed has also been an inspiration, not just for myself but for a whole generation of younger scientists."


"Sally did and still does this by allowing them to run with ideas that she helped to develop or even produced herself entirely and by allowing them, to take on senior authorship on important papers even though she could claim it for herself."

"I believe that mentoring is about the wellbeing of the mentee. Over the years I have observed leaders of some big and important groups who are more concerned with using group members to promote their own scientific standing." 

A very obvious trait of the great mentors was their unselfishness and willingness to share. They share their own ideas and are happy when someone picks them up and runs with them. They generously allow them to take on senior authorship even though they could claim it for themselves. They allow younger people to take credit for their work even if it is to the apparent disadvantage of the mentor. Of course it is not. The generosity is apparent to all and only enhances the status of the supervisor. We have all seen leaders of big and important groups who are more concerned with using group members to promote their own scientific standing. We like to feel this meanness of spirit does not benefit them in the long term. Such generosity is harder in the early years before our international reputations are fully established but it will be of benefit in the long run and reduces the chance of our egos taking over. 

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