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.
Furthermore, mentorship is built on reciprocity and commitment. It requires trust, loyalty, personal empowerment, respect, effective time management, and resistance to social pressures.
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…
You must be willing to share your experiences, to be authentic, protective, fair, positive, patient and confident.
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!
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