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4 Tips for a Successful Mentor-Mentee Relationship

4 Tips for a Successful Mentor-Mentee Relationship

Did you know that 80% of CEOs have had mentors? And, that 35% of employees who don’t receive regular mentoring plan to look for another job within 12 months? Data from an Emerging Workforce Study conducted by Management Mentors shows how “more and more, people and organizations are recognizing the importance and value of mentoring.”

According to mentoring.org statistics, “90% of young adults who had a mentor are interested in becoming a mentor” and what is more, they are “130% more likely to hold leadership positions”.[1]

There are clear benefits to having a mentor, but how can you ensure you are making the most out of your mentor-mentee relationship? These six tips will help you develop a successful relationship:

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1. Create inspiring and personal role models

Mentees need to see their mentors as real life role models. In this sense, mentors need to be inspiring, but at the same time, there needs to exist a personal connection.

In one of her articles for Open Colleges, TV Presenter and Journalist, Shelly Horton clarifies how “personal connections have a bigger influence on professional women than celebrities do.” She also explains that “research from The Westpac Women of Influence Report from a few years ago, confirms that Australian women are looking to role models with a bit of integrity.” And according to the same study, “Australian women seem to aspire to be like women they know and respect personally. They look for attributes such as honesty and trustworthiness, good communication skills and respect for others”.

2. Set up clear goals and expectations

Mentor and mentee need to agree on their goals and mutual expectations from the beginning. According to Ellesse, author of Goal Setting College, even “before you approach someone to be your mentor, you’ll need to find out what you want to learn first so that you’ll find the right fit.”

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As a mentee, you need to make clear what you want to get from this relationship. It may be to help you secure funding, land your next big client or get a particular job. You will also need to know when do you want to accomplish your main objective. To be able to achieve your primary goal, it is recommended to break it down into smaller and more manageable goals that will help you get there. Both mentor and mentee should be aware of the objectives and agree on the completion time.

It is good to decide and schedule your meetings upfront as well as to talk about what will be the dynamic of your sessions together. Knowing what to expect from each other will be of great help to achieve the agreed objectives.

3. Mutual benefit

The principal beneficiary of this relationship should be the mentee. However, only a win-win situation will keep the relationship alive and fruitful. In this regard, mentors should also benefit from it.

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As a mentor, you may want to set up your own goals and have a clear understanding of what you want to achieve with this relationship. It may be gaining knowledge in a new space and area of expertise, or perhaps to improve your coaching skills. In some cases, mentors are looking for new projects to invest in. Being the initiator’s mentor may get you first in line to invest when the moment comes.

4. Open and sincere communication

Communication is key in every relationship. But when it comes to professional mentorship, it becomes especially important, as neither side wants to waste time.

As a mentee, you should prepare the agenda ahead of the meeting and take the initiative in the topics you want to cover in each session. You should also raise the issues or questions and listen to your mentor’s advice. Soak up as much knowledge and advice from your mentor as you can. If you think your meetings are not being productive anymore or that you are not getting enough help on a certain area, your relationship may have run its course. But it is not the end of the world. If that is the case, be open with your mentor and explain the situation. It may be time to find a new person to discuss new concerns.

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As a mentor, you must be honest with your mentee. If they are not ready to take the next step in their business, you should make them aware. Always try to be constructive and explain what they need to work on before making a strategic move. Offering positive but sincere feedback will keep your mentee motivated and working in the right direction.

Overall, both sides need to be implicated in building a prosperous mentorship program. Exceptional communication and great commitment will be key for success, as well as mutual respect and a dose of trust.

Featured photo credit: Ann Brown via flickr.com

Reference

[1] MENTOR: Mentoring Impact

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Content Marketing Freelancer

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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