Henri Junttila is the founder of Wake Up Cloud which helps people find and follow their passion. Henri Junttila is also the author of Find Your Passion: 25 Questions You Must Ask Yourself.
I always wished someone had thought me what I know now, so I didn’t need to learn life and office politics the hard way.
Needless to say, mentors are hard to come by and it is difficult for women and minorities to find mentors in powerful positions.
However, achieving success without a mentor is possible but having one will definitively make your life easier.
Wondering how to score the perfect mentor or perfect mentee?
What is mentorship?
Mentorship is usually the realization of leadership. It is similar to tutorship, to parenthood, to partnership, or to an alliance.
To simplify, mentorship is basically an often exclusive work relationship between two people who are willing to learn from each other and to grow with each other.
Most mentorship are informal and naturally happen in the workplace. However, they can take place in your personal life.
If you are looking for a mentor…
You have to be able to effectively manage yourself, to handle all responsibilities and to not self-sabotage.
Are you ready for mentorship?
To prepare yourself for mentorship and to make yourself attractive to a mentor, you must develop your skills and your character on your own:
- Keep a positive attitude and be open to learn.
- Have goals and ambition.
- Learn to build relationships, to handle office politics, pressures and failures.
- Humble demonstrate your character and your smarts.
- Take calculated risks.
Benefits to having a mentor
Mentorship provides the mentee, the learner or the protégé with:
- Insights into the corporate culture, sound advice and ongoing feedback.
- Leadership skills and increased job performance.
- An ability to adapt to change.
- More independence, more experiences, more challenges, more success and opportunities for evolution.
- Appropriate jobs and roles in regards to your strengths.
- Increased visibility, access to responsibilities and high positions.
- Higher pay.
- Emotional support, emotional intelligence, self-awareness, higher self-esteem, better focus, stronger confidence.
How to find a mentor?
You must not wait to be chosen by a mentor: you should make the first move. To find a mentor:
- Identify your strengths and weaknesses.
- Identify your goals and make sure that they align with those of your future mentor.
- Handle your career on your own, manage your own reputation, gain pertinent skills, work on yourself and on your goals first before seeking help.
- Verify the role and status of the person of interest. The person must not necessarily be your supervisor, must not work at the same company or have the same position. Make sure that your mentor has exceptional skills, is well read, is self-aware and is always on the path of self-improvement.
- Observe your mentor’s behavior and character to ensure that you will get along with them and look up to.
- Test your mentor’s ability to handle work then ask for help.
- Get to know your mentor on a personal level and keep in touch from time to time.
- Seek understanding and accept mentorship influence.
- Learn to keep secrets.
If you looking to be a mentor…
Mentors are motivators, are able to create strong relationships, are part of a powerful network, demonstrate exemplary leadership behavior, have influence, dedicate themselves to people, take risks, give sound advice, and give credit when it’s due.
Benefits to being a mentor
Being a mentor is rewarding and is an illustrious position. In a mentorship relationship, everyone benefits from each other’s success and brings equal goods to the table.
On one hand, mentors are able to share their life experiences, to share great work tips, to provide different perspectives, to retain the best employees and to improve the workplace. They can delegate work to a trusted employee, bridge the generational gap, get to work with different people and get more free time to themselves.
On another hand, without being part of your organization, mentees are able to positively impact the mentor’s image, reputation, forces them to sharpen their skills and to improve their work-life balance. Mentees keep their mentors in touch with their organization, up to date with their technical skills
Finally, mentorship is fulfilling because mentors are able to leave a legacy, to make their mark.
How to select a mentee?
The perfect mentee does not exist.
- Be open to mentorship proposals early in life and early in your career
- Observe if they have potential
- Verify the mentee is curious, eager to learn and open to change
- Verify that they are willing to put in the work
How to be a mentor?
To be the best mentor you can be:
- Be a role-model.
- Find out what you and your mentee want to achieve.
- Set realistic expectations about the job and help them clarify their goals.
- Find your most convenient mentorship and leadership style.
- Know how to navigate most challenging situations.
- Give support whenever you can, have an open door policy, respond to the needs and goals of your mentee.
- Show appreciation and show that their opinions matter.
- Give your mentee time to grow, time to commit and time to develop their skills.
- Open up your network to the mentee and give direct access to success.
- Don’t mold the mentee in your image and understand that they are their own person.
- Incorporate mentoring programs in your organization if you can.
- Let go of the mentee if your goals don’t align anymore and if the mentee has outgrown you.
Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!
Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.
There are laws and principles that govern the workplace. We can either ignore them, acknowledge them or abide by them.
These laws and principles are the most visible when someone has been promoted, is moving forward or a new boss is in town. Some appear to be jealous, some try to quickly affiliate with the winner, to show their allegiance. Others are quick to sabotage and to compete.
I am not one to willingly participate in office politics. However, in my opinion, because knowledge is power, the best way to avoid politics is to know the rules. I like to know what is happening, how to read a room, to always be aware of my behavior, and to prepare myself for what is coming.
This advice is also valuable for minorities who encounters western group think in the office, who need to be realistic about their situations and want to understand how to advance themselves, how to protect themselves.
Wondering how to navigate office politics and whether or not you should be interested in it?
What is office politics?
Office politics is a human concept and is inevitable. It is also very necessary and will go on whether your participate in it or not.
In office politics people seek power, leadership, influence and/or control of other people, more responsibility on their job.
Office politics is a particular hard skill because it requires that you control your primitive, impulsive responses to different situations and that you stay in high alert at all times.
The Perks Of Office Politics
Political animals in the office usually get what they want, to evade conflicts and sometimes create them between different individuals. Political animals:
- Have influence. They build healthy relationships, even with toxic individuals.
- Recognize the agendas and powers at play in any relationships.
- Get the best projects, get promoted, get pay raise and other rewards.
- Are trusted for their opinions.
- Get credit for their hard work.
- Get their career on a positive track.
- Have the ability and the tools to deal with opposition and usually wins in a conflict.
- Conserve their energy and focus it on worthwhile issues.
- Avoid being blindsided or facing unpleasant outcomes.
What We Hate About Office Politics
Office politics is often badly perceived because it can be cruel, be viewed as being calculated and manipulative.
Sometimes, office politics is a dangerous and corrosive game but it is a game. It is part of human nature, a social activity, a marathon and not a sprint.
It is often used to sabotage, to manipulate, to deflect or to create a conflict between people.
Therefore, it is not for the faint of heart. Before starting, you must make sure that you are robust, are not dependent on people or other external factors, that you are emotionally detached from your work and that you can clearly separate your identity from your job.
Furthermore, keep in mind that abusing power on the long run does not lead to success.
Principle #1: Defining your purpose
Having greater goals in life will help you sustain and overcome opposition, avoid being pushed around by people or events. Your ultimate goals can be:
- staying at a company and getting your pay check to ensure your lifestyle and to guarantee financial stability.
- staying at a company, evolving, building healthy relationships
- Living the company and finding better
Either way, set realistic goals, expectations for yourself. Next, stay focus on your goals, use your goals to guide your decisions and your behavior.
Principle #2: Know your strengths, weaknesses and limits
Politics and power will challenge your weaknesses.
Understanding your strengths and weaknesses will help you assess your worth, appreciate your contributions at work and determine whether or not you can run with horses. This will also help you identify them in others, understand them, maximize their potential and forgive their weaknesses.
To be effective at office politics, don’t directly demonstrate or enunciate your strengths or weaknesses. It is best to wait for the right moment to do so.
In addition, you must seek to enhance your performance, your productivity, to develop competencies that are hard to acquire or hard to replace. and to deliver great results. Then, discreetly promote your results.
Principle #3: Maintaining your leadership capabilities
It is important to learn to keep your peace and your composure at all times by seriously controlling your emotions. This demands a lot of discipline and will help you grow as a person.
Furthermore, lead by example and take care or yourself first. Great leaders have power but stay humble and don’t abuse it.
To help you manage people, conflicts, to adopt the right behavior, to estimate your position and status:
- Understand the company culture, values and principles.
- Understand the people who you work with, estimate their boundaries and assess their attitudes.
- Believe that hierarchy exist and is gladly enforced in the workplace. This means that you must, at some point, show deference to your “superiors”.This doesn’t mean that your “superiors” have greater character, greater skill sets or greater vision. However, no matter who you are, you won’t be able to freely speak your mind, to make your own decisions, to control your assignments.
Discipline your words and your thoughts
- Stay away from gossip and rumors.
- Watch what you say and how you say it.
- Give substance to your speech.
- Monitor your behavior at all times.
Discipline your emotions
- Get rid of your ego and nurture your sense of humor. If you don’t know something, say so and don’t fake knowledge.
- Don’t waste your time and energy on useless matters.
- Keep your wits about you.
- When someone slights you, don’t give them an emotional reaction.
Principle #4: Behave ethically
- Remain true to your core values.
- Don’t expect to be treated fairly.
- Upgrade your character in order to be unimpeachable from the start. People with low or no ethics are unsuccessful in the long run.
Poor character leads to abusive, aggressive, masochistic, sadist behavior and office politics.
When I was working for a long corporation, one person in the office was being bullied. I was asked, as a team member, to participate in the bullying and to force the person to quit.
Most of my team members, for fun or for fear of retribution, would engage in toxic behavior towards this one person, put down false complaints and manufacture false rumors as well.
Without doing the same, I realized that sadistically beating down on someone, engaging in toxic behavior were not aligning with my core values and wouldn’t allow me to sleep properly at night.
To solve the solution, I simply listened to the request, spoke positively about the person, suggested to them that they had to find a better position and found a better place to work myself.
What was your ethically questionable experience?
Principle #5: Building your network and gaining influence
Networking is an important process, especially if your are shy and introverted. Who you know will determine how far you will get.
Here are some tips below that will help you be unbothered, to gain influence and build positive relationships:
- Protect your reputation at all cost. For instance, if you make promises, live up to them.
- Have a positive attitude. Avoid being mean or offending people for sport.
- Act or be confident. It is important to fake it until you make it, to dress confidently and dress for success.
- Give your best on your job and put your best foot forward. You can even become an expert in your field.
- Empathetic ally listen to your coworkers. This way, you will get invaluable information about the environment, be solution oriented and build strong relationships.
- Look to be respected and not to be liked.
- Seek to integrate the group before you seek to lead it.
- Target people who can help you achieve your goals and let them know what you bring to the table.
- Don’t worry what people say about you, don’t gossip or spread false rumors.
- Avoid too much flattery. You will appear weak to your peers, will erode their respect and the respect of the higher-ups.
- Involve people in your decision-making process.
Principle #6: Friend or Foe?
It is detrimental to discern your friends from your enemies, your confidant from your comrade, your constituents from your compatriots.
Keep in mind that:
- Not everybody is your friend and don’t expect your “friends” to have your back.
- It is better to have allies than to have enemies.
- Your enemies won’t stop at anything to block you from achieving your purpose.
In conflicts or challenging situations:
- Always seek to diffuse tension.
- Avoid taking sides, power struggles but don’t give in to enemies or attempt to please them.
- Mind your business and don’t take anything personally.
- Identify the toxic behavior and the solution for it.
- Don’t stoop to the level of the perpetrator or please the naysayers.
- Don’t play the victim or suffer unfair treatment.
- Ask questions rather than giving answers or have a private chat with an enemy and try to bring them to your side.
- If you are not in position of power or are not favored at your job, accept it and move on, especially if you don’t know how to maneuver the situation.
- If excluded from a group, don’t attempt to fit in, just join a new one or leave the place.
- If you are being openly criticized or insulted, don’t let that affect your self-worth or your work. Agree with the perpetrator without demonstrating emotion.
Principle #7: Change
To handle office politics, one must learn to appreciate change and adapt to it.
- Stay present, stay resilient and robust to conflicts and change, to your own emotions, to the emotions of others.
- Learn to deal with change and quickly recover from your blows.
Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!
Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.
In Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want, Michael Hyatt & Daniel Harkavy suggest that we define a plan for our lives. They introduce us to the concept of Life Planning and show us how to implement the process.
What is a Life Plan?
According to Hyatt and Harkavy, “A Life Plan is a short written document, usually five to fifteen pages long“. The Life Plan is personal, describes your priorities, the steps to reach your goals and the legacy you want to leave.
It is a life long process, that can continually be adjusted and improved. A Life Plan doesn’t shield you from life challenges and failures. Instead, it will help you create intention for your life.
It is common to have a career plan but no Life Plan. The Life Plan enables you to:
- Set priorities and stick to them.
- Stop sacrificing yourself, to stop trading health and time for work, career advancement, accolades or money.
- Filter out opportunities. As you get older and as you get experiences, opportunity coming your way will multiply. It is therefore important to know where your priorities lie and what opportunity to choose.
- Avoid distractions, confront and deal with reality.
- Avoid the feeling of being stuck and allow you to keep your eyes on the future.
- Avoid regrets and increase your level of control.
The drift and its consequences
Most people drift away from their dreams because:
- They are unaware that their ideas and assumptions are inaccurate and harmful.
- There is a discrepancy between their beliefs and reality.
- They are distracted, are spread too thin or too busy to focus on their lives and to start prioritizing.
- They don’t understand that there is hope, that they can change and that they have more control over their lives than they think.
When you drift away from your dreams and when you don’t have a Life Plan, you tend to:
- Lack meaning and purpose.
- Waste your time and other valuable resources on meaningless tasks.
- Lose opportunities and their sense of urgency. People who drift away procrastinate and are unable to discern a good opportunity from a bad.
- Experience trouble more intensely because they are unprepared.
- Take a passive approach to life, shift blame and live in regrets.
Designing and implementing your Life Plan
To design your Life Plan, it is necessary to outline your legacy, to set your priorities, get clarity on your objectives and to reserve one day to build your Life Plan.
Outlining your legacy
To design your Life Plan, keep in mind that everybody leaves a legacy, face your mortality and begin with the end in mind. It is critical to write your Life Plan like you are writing your eulogy, to imagine how you want others to remember you and to stay committed to the process.
Setting your priorities
Getting more clarity on your objectives will definitely increase your commitment. To do so, you must steer clear from external expectations and do what is right for you.
Getting clarity on objectives
- Identify your purpose.
- Project yourself into the future, picture yourself in it and imagine all the different positive outcomes. To make your vision much more compelling, write down in the present tense what you hear, feel, see, smell and taste.
- Find and apply a quote that inspires you.
- Make an honest assessment of your current progress.
- Commit to specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and time-bond goals.
Devote one day to your Life Plan
It is necessary to allow yourself to dream, to not expect perfection and to not get distracted.
Implement your plan
Implementing the Life Plan is the most challenging part. It is necessary to:
- Include your Life Plan in your everyday routine.
- Fight the feeling of being overwhelmed by life’s drama.
- Don’t be afraid to say no or to disappoint others.
- Read your plan daily and review it often.
Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want by Michael Hyatt & Daniel Harkavy is an easy to read self-help book that is based on some of their traumatic experiences. It is destined to increase our focus, to helps us find out what matters most, to acquire meaning and fulfillment in our everyday life, to allow us to prioritize our lives and to contribute effectively,
This book is written for people who are looking for a better direction for their life because they are either:
- unsatisfied with the current state of their lives,
- lack purpose,
- seeking more balance,
- unable to overcome life challenges,
- noticing that their lives don’t fit their vision or dream,
- not reaching their full potential.
The earlier we start creating and implementing a Life Plan, the better.
Living Forward will heighten your sense of what’s truly possible for you in life. If you feel out of balance, aware that your current pace is unsustainable; if you are making great gains professionally but don’t want to neglect personal priorities; if you want to have better focus to succeed financially; if you have gone through a recent tragedy and suddenly become aware that life is short; if any of those are true, this book is for you.
I know that how we lead ourselves in life impacts how we lead those around us. Self-leadership always precedes team leadership. We must have a balanced approach to accumulating net worth in all of the critical accounts in our lives, not just one or two. Ultimately this allows us to make the greatest difference and adds the most value to those around us. It is possible to grow at work without diminishing other areas of our lives. Living forward helps us find and maintain our balance.
Sometimes, we are stuck in a career that we hate or that no longer fulfills us. Other times, the commute is too long, we make long studies to end up in a career that requires too much sacrifice, that doesn’t fit us or that we struggle in.
Uprooting, starting over, reinventing your career and moving forward is difficult. Starting over from scratch feels like a failure, is intimidating, is discouraging, takes time, requires optimism, an ability to learn, an interest in personal growth, a sense of adventure.
Wondering how to actively change career and find a job that fulfills you?
Being in the wrong job or leading the wrong people demands too much sacrifice and can lead to a serious breakdown or various health issues. Our lack of interest spills over at work and most importantly at home, especially if we are leaders. We visibly become careless, inconsistent, we underperform and are emotionally unavailable.
Furthermore, a career change is necessary when your personal needs are not met, when you get feeling of boredom, start burning out, lack of satisfaction, work for a bad boss and with toxic coworkers. Everybody has a breaking point and cannot spend a lifetime adapting to situations that are unnatural to them.
How to avoid making the wrong career choice?
Some people drift through jobs without any idea of what they are doing or without making a decisive career choice. To avoid making a bad career choice:
- Don’t wear another personality other than yourself.
- Know yourself and be willing to grow.
- Understand that a bad career choice can have severe effect on your health and your happiness.
- Check to see if you fit in the company during the hiring process.
- Don’t abuse drugs to distract yourself from a bad job.
Actively changing careers
Changing career is daunting yet exciting. It is daunting because we might lose status, leadership position. However, it can be exciting because the future is promising. Starting over means learning from your past mistakes, applying the solutions with an open mind and with a different perspective on life.
Quitting your job and pursuing the career you always wanted is a leap of faith. The future is unknown but promising. To transition smoothly:
- Know that what we think we can achieve is unlimited and is not limited. Changing career requires a different mindset. Believe that ever force is on your side and attract the things you want in life. Don’t let fear stop you from moving forward.
- List the different careers that you wish you could have.
- Some people will tell you that it is a bad decision to change career. Listen carefully to what they say and understand that their opinion is not really about you. Find ways to overcome these boundaries, keep moving forward and don’t look back.
- Accept yourself and your character flaws.
- Identify your strengths and weaknesses. This will help you tap into your full potential and make your career more sustainable, make work more enjoyable and will have you jumping out of bed to get to work.
- Translate your strengths and weaknesses into coherent skills and avoid devaluing what you can do easily.
- Identify your core values. Core values are what guide your behavior and character. Make sure that what you are doing aligns with your values.
- Identify your skills acquired at work and make sure that they are transferable.
- Find out your passions, what you want and what you like to do, even when you are not getting paid.
- Build a vision, set goals, focus or a purpose. Daily remind yourself of your dreams and goals. Then, determine the needs required for achieving this purpose.
- Imagine your ideal life and your ideal position. Write it down and create a vision board to specifically solidify your dreams.
- Measure your stage in life, how far are you in life. The consequences of changing career will be different if you are a recent graduate student or a seasoned senior professional.
- Meet your personal requirements at home. Your requirements can be money, recognition, trust, autonomy, performance and achievements). Furthermore, understand that your needs are personal and will not be grasped by everyone.
- Build strong and healthy relationships. You can do this by starting a small group, by assisting others at work and by bringing solutions to their problems.
- Address your past and your present experiences. Then, Estimate what you consider as a failure and as a success.
- Be open to learn and ask probing questions.
- Brush up on your interview skills, network and learn to sell yourself.
- If you are looking for a job at another company, remember to update your resume with accurate experience and qualifications, big or small.
- Take classes and trainings that will move you toward your career goal and keep you motivated.
- Ask for sit downs to people who are in your career of choice. During that interview, don’t directly ask for a job but avoid making assumptions, ask probing questions and take notes.
- Respond to advertised jobs. You can also directly apply to companies without going through ads.
- Rearrange your personal life before tending to the professional life. Make peace with yourself and physically declutter your space at home then at work.
- Learn to deal with worst case scenarios on your current job before moving on to the next one. Chances are that you will meet the same situation somewhere else and potentially end up in the same mess.
- Avoid passive aggressive behavior on your last days at work and develop smart strategies to handle our current job. For example, try to meet your boss requirements before quitting your job. When you meet the boss’s requirements, his trust in you will be renewed and your energy will be boosted.
- Start a business that is directly molded on your strengths and weaknesses.Once a leader, always a leader. It is not something you can turn off.
Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!
Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.