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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 November 26, 2020

How Relationships Building Helps Achieve Career Success

How Relationships Building Helps Achieve Career Success

As playwright Wilson Mizner supposedly said all the way back in the 1930s,

“Be kind to everyone on the way up; you will meet the same people on the way down.”

The adage is the perfect prototype for relationship building in 2020, although we may want to expand Mizner’s definition of “kind” to include being helpful, respectful, grateful, and above all, crediting your colleagues along the way.

5 Ways to Switch on Your Relationship Building Magnetism

Relationship building does not come easily to all. Today’s computer culture makes us more insular and less likely to reach out—not to mention our new work-from-home situation in which we are only able to interact virtually. Still, relationship building remains an important part of career engagement and success, and it gets better with practice.

Here are five ways you can strengthen your relationships:

1. Advocate for Other’s Ideas

Take the initiative to speak up in support of other team members’ good ideas. Doing so lets others know that the team’s success takes precedence over your needs for personal success. Get behind any colleague’s innovative approach or clever solution and offer whatever help you can give to see it through. Teammates will value your vote of confidence and your support.

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2. Show Compassion

If you learn that someone whom you work with has encountered difficult times, reach out. If it’s not someone you know well, a hand-written card expressing your sympathy and hopes for better times ahead could be an initial gesture. If it’s someone with whom you interact regularly, the act could involve offering to take on some of the person’s work to provide a needed reprieve or even bringing in a home-cooked dish as a way to offer comfort. The show of compassion will not go unnoticed, and your relationship building will have found a foothold.

3. Communicate Regularly

Make an effort to share any information with team members that will help them do their jobs more effectively. Keeping people in the loop says a lot about your consideration for what others need to deliver their best results.

Try to discover the preferred mode of communication for each team member. Some people are fine relying on emails; others like to have a phone conversation. And once we can finally return to working together in offices, you may determine that face-to-face updates may be most advantageous for some members.

4. Ask for Feedback

Showing your willingness to reach out for advice and guidance will make a positive impression on your boss. When you make it clear that you welcome and can accept pointers, you display candor and trust in what opinions your superior has to offer. Your proclivity towards considering ways of improving your performance and strengthening any working interactions will signal your strong relationship skills.

If you are in a work environment where you are asked to give feedback, be generous and compassionate. That does not mean being wishy-washy. Try always to give the type of feedback that you wouldn’t mind receiving.

5. Give Credit Where It’s Due

Be the worker who remembers to credit staffers with their contributions. It’s a surprisingly rare talent to credit others, but when you do so, they will remember to credit you, and the collective credit your team will accrue will be well worth the effort.

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How Does Relationship Building Build Careers?

Once you have strengthened and deepened your relationships, here are some of the great benefits:

Work Doesn’t Feel So Much Like Work

According to a Gallup poll, when you have a best friend at work, you are more likely to feel engaged with your job. Work is more fun when you have positive, productive relationships with your colleagues. Instead of spending time and energy overcoming difficult personalities, you can spend time enjoying the camaraderie with colleagues as you work congenially on projects together. When your coworkers are your friends, time goes by quickly and challenges don’t weigh as heavily.

You Can Find Good Help

It’s easier to ask for assistance when you have a good working relationship with a colleague. And with office tasks changing at the speed of technology, chances are that you are going to need some help acclimating—especially now that work has gone remote due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Much of relationship building rests on your genuine expressions of appreciation toward others. Showing gratitude for another’s help or for their willingness to put in the extra effort will let them know you value them.

Mentors Come Out of the Woodwork

Mentors are proven to advance your professional and career development. A mentor can help you navigate how to approach your work and keep you apprised of industry trends. They have a plethora of experience to draw from that can be invaluable when advising you on achieving career success and advancement.

Mentors flock to those who are skilled at relationship building. So, work on your relationships and keep your eyes peeled for a worthy mentor.

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You Pull Together as a Team

Great teamwork starts with having an “abundance mentality” rather than a scarcity mentality. Too often, workers view all projects through a scarcity mentality lens. This leads to office strife as coworkers compete for their piece of the pie. But in an abundance mentality mode, you focus on the strengths that others bring rather than the possibility that they are potential competitors.

Instead, you can commit relationship building efforts to ensure a positive work environment rather than an adversarial one. When you let others know that you intend to support their efforts and contribute to their success, they will respond in kind. Go, team!

Your Network Expands and So Does Your Paycheck

Expand your relationship building scope beyond your coworkers to include customers, suppliers, and other industry stakeholders. Your extra efforts can lead to extra sales, a more rewarding career, and even speedy professional advancement. And don’t overlook the importance of building warm relationships with assistants, receptionists, or even interns.

Take care to build bridges, not just to your boss and your boss’s boss but with those that work under you as well. You may find that someone who you wouldn’t expect will put in a good word for you with your supervisor.

Building and maintaining good working relationships with everyone you come in contact with can pay off in unforeseen ways. You never know when that underling will turn out to be the company’s “golden child.” Six years from now you may be turning to them for a job. If you have built up a good, trusting work relationship with others along your way, you will more likely be considered for positions that any of these people may be looking to fill.

Your Job Won’t Stress You Out

Study shows that some 83 percent of American workers experience work-related stress.[1] Granted, some of that stress is now likely caused by the new pandemic-triggered workplace adjustments, yet bosses and management, in general, are reportedly the predominant source of stress for more than one-third of workers.

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Having meaningful connections among coworkers is the best way to make work less stressful. Whether it is having others whom to commiserate with, bounce ideas off, or bring out your best performance, friendships strengthen the group’s esprit de corps and lower the stress level of your job.

Your Career Shines Bright

Who would you feel better about approaching to provide a recommendation or ask for promotion: a cold, aloof boss with whom you have only an impersonal relationship or one that knows you as a person and with whom you have built a warm, trusting relationship?

Your career advancement will always excel when you have a mutual bond of friendship and appreciation with those who can recommend you. Consider the plug you could receive from a supervisor who knows you as a friend versus one who remains detached and only notices you in terms of your ability to meet deadlines or attain goals.

When people fully know your skills, strengths, personality, and aspirations, you have promoters who will sing your praises with any opportunity for advancement.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, it is “who you know” not “what you know.” When you build relationships, you build a pipeline of colleagues, work partners, team members, current bosses, and former bosses who want to help you—who want to see you succeed.

At its core, every business is a people business. Making a point to take the small but meaningful actions that build the foundation of a good relationship can be instrumental in cultivating better relationships at work.

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Featured photo credit: Adam Winger via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] The American Institute of Stress: 42 Worrying Workplace Stress Statistics

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