Oh, What You Can Learn
It's human nature to try to solve all problems by yourself for fear of being perceived as ineffective or unintelligent. We worry that if we ask for help or guidance, we will appear weak or incapable.
Today's business environment is extremely complex, and as consolidation continues and companies continue to grow, that complexity is becoming even more immense. The good news is you don't have to navigate the waters alone. Having a mentor can be a valuable resource.
In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share these tips for succeeding as a mentor and a mentee from Marketo blogger, Katrina Niemisto.
1. It's never too early or too late. Mentorship is a great way to help employees navigate areas that might be murky or new. A mentor can provide a penalty-free question and personal development zone where employees can more safely and openly learn how to work in teams, manage careers, and demystify tacit company characteristics and culture.
Are you a mid- or late-career employee who has never had a formal mentor? Consider a reverse mentorship where you are paired with a younger worker to learn about how you can improve the business together. This mutually beneficial relationship can enhance your perspective while helping a younger worker benefit from your experience and relationship-building skills.
2. You need a sounding board. Focus on creating a diverse set of relationships within your organization and your industry. Also, broaden your circle; take a chance on a new hire or on someone you view as being unapproachable who's been with the company for years. The insight you can gain from another's perspective can be invaluable. And, of course, advice and encouragement are both important, especially when they come from someone who knows what you're going through.
3. It's okay to fail. No one is expecting transformative results from you immediately. Starting a mentor relationship will not completely change your life in one meeting. Your first mentor or mentee may not be a great fit. You might schedule and reschedule your mentorship meeting four or five times before it happens. Keep at it. Be sure you're not limiting yourself when it comes to selecting a mentor. Mentors do not have to be in your industry, company or even in a role you're aspiring to attain. Look for mentors who have leadership styles you admire, reach out to people who have taken the road less traveled or find a someone who is drastically different from you. Everyone has something to teach you.
4. Start by encouraging employees to bring their whole self to work. Invite people to share their passions, hobbies and interests that shape them outside of their work profiles. This openness creates that same mindset when it comes to workplace diversity—moving away from a career-limiting mindset and more towards an innovative mindset. This also allows for a more diverse mentor/mentee relationship that can bring fresh ideas to the table.
Who was the best mentor you've ever had? Why was that mentor great? Think about how you can parlay your experience to help someone else find their way and excel at their career. You will likely learn something new and valuable as well.
Source: Katrina Niemisto is a content marketing specialist at Marketo. She is a Netflix documentary addict and can be found taking too many photos of her cat, food and drinks on social media. She spent 10 years working as a professional stage manager prior to earning an MBA at the University of Denver's Daniels College of Business.