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5 Reasons Why You Need A Mentor

5 Reasons Why You Need A Mentor

 “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Isaac Newton

In the words of Sir Isaac Newton, mentors extend vision, enable proteges to attain greater heights. In short, mentors provide undeniable counsel and resources that are not necessarily or readily available or accessible. One of the key realities on our journey is the fact that you will discover that you can not ‘do,’ ‘go’ or ‘be’ all you can be all by yourself. You will eventually need people and people will need you. Invariably, you will discover that no one is an island and our interconnections is an obvious reality that reminds me of the popular adage on vacuums. It is true that no one can exist or succeed in a vacuum. Each one of us will require other people’s help, support, insight, feedback, and resources at one point on our journey.

Coincidentally, the value of mentoring goes beyond oneself. It is a gift that keeps on giving and I am reminded of this scripture that says, “in the multitude of counselors (mentoring) there is safety.” I truly believe that!

Great Mentors Must Have These Attributes

Great mentors provide intangible resources and vital tools not readily available or accessible due to their experience, access, and vintage point. In my humble opinion, great mentors are the proverbial ‘wind’ beneath one’s wings.

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I have had the good fortune of good mentorship and have observed the effect of great mentoring on the community.

Here are some undeniable attributes of great mentors:

  1. Great mentors show interest in your success
  2. Great mentors are vested in your success
  3. Great mentors are aligned with your best interest
  4. Great mentors focus on helping you be the best you can be
  5. Great mentors do not compete with you but rather complement you
  6. Great mentors are not afraid of your successes or threatened by them

Here are 5 reasons why you need a mentor:

Mentors Coach

Mentors coach and prepare you for change.

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The economy of the new workforce does not operate solely on hard work but rather on smart work. You need to get smarter about people, relationships, processes, opportunities, and strategies. Great mentors help you get smarter with their wise counsel.

Mentors Motivate

Mentors fine tune and transform your vision.

They provide ideas, thoughts and insights that challenge and enable you to see beyond your sphere of influence. Mentors amplify visions by elevating your thinking capabilities. Mentors elevate you by making their shoulders your platform. They prop you up and this demonstration of trust must not be abused as their extensions is a critical validation that will eventually open doors and grant you access to opportunities beyond your circle.

Mentors Challenge

Mentors push you to go farther.

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They refuse to let you settle on your oars and invariably challenge you to go farther than you can possibly imagine. They pat you on the back for your successes, guide you in extracting lessons from your failures and by so doing push you far.

Mentors Protect

Mentors protect you from missteps.

Mentors protect and nurture their proteges from premature exposure. They provide insights on how to navigate political landmines in organizations and how to make sound business decisions in your startup or engagements. Their counsel prevents missteps that could otherwise derail your success. Mentors by their sound counsel guide proteges from ending up in pits.

Mentors Advice

Mentors share life lessons.

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Mentors use their stories and perspectives to paint pictures of what is possible. They use words and their actions to support you. Invariably, building you up for more than you ever thought possible.Lastly, mentors never give up on you. They never quit believing, encouraging and engaging their protege. Great mentors assume the vision of their proteges until it is a reality.

Featured photo credit: Flickr.com via flickr.com

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Dr. Flo

Executive Director, Hybrid Leadership Institute

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Last Updated on February 11, 2021

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

How often have you said something simple, only to have the person who you said this to misunderstand it or twist the meaning completely around? Nodding your head in affirmative? Then this means that you are being unclear in your communication.

Communication should be simple, right? It’s all about two people or more talking and explaining something to the other. The problem lies in the talking itself, somehow we end up being unclear, and our words, attitude or even the way of talking becomes a barrier in communication, most of the times unknowingly. We give you six common barriers to communication, and how to get past them; for you to actually say what you mean, and or the other person to understand it as well…

The 6 Walls You Need to Break Down to Make Communication Effective

Think about it this way, a simple phrase like “what do you mean” can be said in many different ways and each different way would end up “communicating” something else entirely. Scream it at the other person, and the perception would be anger. Whisper this is someone’s ear and others may take it as if you were plotting something. Say it in another language, and no one gets what you mean at all, if they don’t speak it… This is what we mean when we say that talking or saying something that’s clear in your head, many not mean that you have successfully communicated it across to your intended audience – thus what you say and how, where and why you said it – at times become barriers to communication.[1]

Perceptual Barrier

The moment you say something in a confrontational, sarcastic, angry or emotional tone, you have set up perceptual barriers to communication. The other person or people to whom you are trying to communicate your point get the message that you are disinterested in what you are saying and sort of turn a deaf ear. In effect, you are yelling your point across to person who might as well be deaf![2]

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The problem: When you have a tone that’s not particularly positive, a body language that denotes your own disinterest in the situation and let your own stereotypes and misgivings enter the conversation via the way you talk and gesture, the other person perceives what you saying an entirely different manner than say if you said the same while smiling and catching their gaze.

The solution: Start the conversation on a positive note, and don’t let what you think color your tone, gestures of body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and smile openly and wholeheartedly…

Attitudinal Barrier

Some people, if you would excuse the language, are simply badass and in general are unable to form relationships or even a common point of communication with others, due to their habit of thinking to highly or too lowly of them. They basically have an attitude problem – since they hold themselves in high esteem, they are unable to form genuine lines of communication with anyone. The same is true if they think too little of themselves as well.[3]

The problem: If anyone at work, or even in your family, tends to roam around with a superior air – anything they say is likely to be taken by you and the others with a pinch, or even a bag of salt. Simply because whenever they talk, the first thing to come out of it is their condescending attitude. And in case there’s someone with an inferiority complex, their incessant self-pity forms barriers to communication.

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The solution: Use simple words and an encouraging smile to communicate effectively – and stick to constructive criticism, and not criticism because you are a perfectionist. If you see someone doing a good job, let them know, and disregard the thought that you could have done it better. It’s their job so measure them by industry standards and not your own.

Language Barrier

This is perhaps the commonest and the most inadvertent of barriers to communication. Using big words, too much of technical jargon or even using just the wrong language at the incorrect or inopportune time can lead to a loss or misinterpretation of communication. It may have sounded right in your head and to your ears as well, but if sounded gobbledygook to the others, the purpose is lost.

The problem: Say you are trying to explain a process to the newbies and end up using every technical word and industry jargon that you knew – your communication has failed if the newbie understood zilch. You have to, without sounding patronizing, explain things to someone in the simplest language they understand instead of the most complex that you do.

The solution: Simplify things for the other person to understand you, and understand it well. Think about it this way: if you are trying to explain something scientific to a child, you tone it down to their thinking capacity, without “dumbing” anything down in the process.[4]

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Emotional Barrier

Sometimes, we hesitate in opening our mouths, for fear of putting our foot in it! Other times, our emotional state is so fragile that we keep it and our lips zipped tightly together lest we explode. This is the time that our emotions become barriers to communication.[5]

The problem: Say you had a fight at home and are on a slow boil, muttering, in your head, about the injustice of it all. At this time, you have to give someone a dressing down over their work performance. You are likely to transfer at least part of your angst to the conversation then, and talk about unfairness in general, leaving the other person stymied about what you actually meant!

The solution: Remove your emotions and feelings to a personal space, and talk to the other person as you normally would. Treat any phobias or fears that you have and nip them in the bud so that they don’t become a problem. And remember, no one is perfect.

Cultural Barrier

Sometimes, being in an ever-shrinking world means that inadvertently, rules can make cultures clash and cultural clashes can turn into barriers to communication. The idea is to make your point across without hurting anyone’s cultural or religious sentiments.

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The problem: There are so many ways culture clashes can happen during communication and with cultural clashes; it’s not always about ethnicity. A non-smoker may have problems with smokers taking breaks; an older boss may have issues with younger staff using the Internet too much.

The solution: Communicate only what is necessary to get the point across – and eave your personal sentiments or feelings out of it. Try to be accommodative of the other’s viewpoint, and in case you still need to work it out, do it one to one, to avoid making a spectacle of the other person’s beliefs.[6]

Gender Barrier

Finally, it’s about Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Sometimes, men don’t understand women and women don’t get men – and this gender gap throws barriers in communication. Women tend to take conflict to their graves, literally, while men can move on instantly. Women rely on intuition, men on logic – so inherently, gender becomes a big block in successful communication.[7]

The problem: A male boss may inadvertently rub his female subordinates the wrong way with anti-feminism innuendoes, or even have problems with women taking too many family leaves. Similarly, women sometimes let their emotions get the better of them, something a male audience can’t relate to.

The solution: Talk to people like people – don’t think or classify them into genders and then talk accordingly. Don’t make comments or innuendos that are gender biased – you don’t have to come across as an MCP or as a bra-burning feminist either. Keep gender out of it.

And remember, the key to successful communication is simply being open, making eye contact and smiling intermittently. The battle is usually half won when you say what you mean in simple, straightforward words and keep your emotions out of it.

Reference

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