Be A Mentor–Take Responsibility, both formally and informally, to coach, guide, teach and mentor others. Sharing knowledge strengthens our team.
Everyday we are setting examples. Big and small, right or wrong, people are seeing us live and they are learning from our successes and our mistakes. Whether you know it or not, you are affecting someone, probably lots of someones.
Once you know THAT you affect others, you can choose HOW you affect others. You can share your knowledge where before you might have kept quiet. Give and get insight and advice. Be a bridge for someone’s success! Mentors play a critical role in supporting career development through the offer of experience-based insight and guidance.
Why be a Mentor?
There comes a point in everyone’s career when someone asks them to be a mentor. For many, this can be a moment of great anxiety. After all, what if you get it wrong, or don’t have all the answers, or just plain don’t know what to do? The good news is that being a mentor is more about your relationship with the person you are mentoring than your expertise or experience as a trainer. Think about all the things you have learned over the course of your life. Many of those skills and bits of wisdom have stuck with you because of how you felt about the person you learned them from. When a coworker, friend, or even casual acquaintance asks for your professional opinion, they are asking you to be a mentor. They are asking for your advice because they respect you and feel as if you can help them succeed. You can think of it as an honor to be a mentor, and its beneficial for both you and the person you mentor. You’ll learn more by teaching, you’ll improve the quality of the workplace, and you’ll gain satisfaction from seeing someone grow and strengthen because of your guidance.
No mentor is complete without the mentee, and we all play both roles. Do you want to find a mentor? Just look around you. Who are the people you admire and want to emulate? Watch what they do, and do the same. Many times your mentor may not even realize they are mentoring you. Maybe YOU don’t realize you have mentors, that you are emulating the people you respect and admire, but we are creatures who learn by imitation; watch any three year old interact with their closest role models and you’ll see it clear as day.
How to be a Good Mentee
Having a mentor can help you to learn how to operate in your work environment. Your mentor will connect you with people and different perspectives that you need to move ahead. He or she may provide advice on how to handle situations and people. He or she will draw from their own body of experience to share insight, wisdom, and knowledge. He will support positive change in your life and will challenge your thinking, thereby expanding the possibilities for you.
However, you will not automatically receive these benefits of the mentoring relationship. Experienced mentees know that, to have the relationship they want, much depends on them. As a mentee, the success of the mentoring relationship depends on you. You are the driver of your own development. If you are serious about learning from your mentor, your frame of mind should be: “I am here to learn, and I am open to new ideas. I am responsible for my own life and for making my own development and career path happen.”
There are many different types if mentoring situations, both formal and informal. But the keys to being a good mentee in life are very simple!
- Listen with an open mind.
- Ask curious questions.
- Take Notes.
- Say “Thank you!”
“A Mind is like a Parachute. It Doesn’t Work if it’s not Open” ~ Frank Zappa
At every age, every stage, and every day, we are all mentoring and being mentored. Unexpectedly, you might find your child as your mentor. Whoops. Was that supposed to happen? Or maybe one of your direct reports. Perhaps you’ve never mentored and you suddenly find yourself as the center of attention to an eager mind. This could be awkward, but if you learn how to be a good mentor and mentee, you’ll never have to worry about missing out on that priceless bond created through the mentor/mentee relationship.
Mentoring takes time, but it’s a worthwhile investment. When you mentor your managers and direct reports, you’ll find that they become more loyal, more helpful, more productive, and more dedicated to helping you and your interests grow.