Mentor in the Workplace.
In its simplest definition, a mentor is an experienced and trusted adviser. You may have had a mentor in college or as a young child but if there’s one place everyone should have a mentor in the workplace. If you’ve ever doubted the importance of a mentor in your life, consider the following before declining a colleague’s wisdom and guidance.
- Your mentor will motivate you
We all have bad days; they’re a part of life. Some days, we’re able to pull ourselves up and keep fighting the good fight. But there are others where the last thing we want to do is put a smile on our face and carry on. A mentor will be able to help you see the positive and push forward.
- Your mentor will see your true colors
It’s impossible for us to see ourselves as others see us, and not just physically. Our opinions of ourselves are based on our past experiences, memories, and personal inner thoughts. Our often-inaccurate beliefs about our capabilities can hinder success. A mentor has an unbiased view of who we are. Their interpretations of us aren’t clouded by inner voices or doubts. They’re able to see our strengths, our weaknesses, and what we can offer the world.
- Your mentor will help you learn from their mistakes
The average employee will spend 90,000 hours of their life working on their career. At first, this seems like plenty of time to make your dreams come true. But those who have been in the game for a while know that it’s not a lot of time and mistakes can be devastating. A work mentor can help you prevent making either the same mistakes they did or mistakes they witnessed others make, helping you stay on track and reach your professional, and in return, personal goals.
- Your mentor will show you tough love
A true mentor won’t shower you with compliments. In fact, your relationship with your mentor will probably hit a few rough patches if they give you honest feedback. Hearing the truth about your unprofessional attire or entitled attitude may sting for a moment but could save your reputation (and future) at work. Ultimately, your mentor has your best interest at heart.
- Your mentor will connect you with the right people
In just about every industry, networking is the catalyst to success. Chances are, your mentor has the names and contact information of the perfect people to catapult your career. But if your mentor respects these contacts, they’ll make you earn each connection by proving your dedication, skill set, and professional maturity.
What to look for in a mentor in the workplace
If you’re open to the idea of a mentor or want to make sure someone who seems to have taken you under their wing in the office is the real deal, here are some traits to look for.
- Genuine interest – A mentor should show genuine interest in what you do, why you do it, and where you want to go with it. Nothing should ever feel forced.
- Not threatened by your success – A true mentor will already have their own success to bask in. Your success or potential for success should never intimidate or threaten them.
- Vested in your future – The right mentor for you will remain part of your life. They’ll want to know what the future holds for you and they’ll play an active role in getting you there.
- Aligned with your best interest, not theirs – What’s in it for them? If your mentor is authentic, the satisfaction of helping a younger work professional is all they’ll need.
The next time an experienced colleague shows interest in your future, take them up on that cup of coffee. Securing a mentor in the workplace could be the best decision you’ll ever make.
“Every great achiever is inspired by a great mentor.” – Lailah Gifty Akita
Tandem HR provides custom, high-touch human resource solutions to small and mid-sized organizations. Our HR experts allow executives to focus on growing their business while we manage the administrative aspects of human resources like payroll processing, benefits administration, compliance, risk management, employee relations and much more. Learn more at tandemhr.com.