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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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Maria Onzain

Content Marketing Freelancer

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Last Updated on December 10, 2019

7 Strategies to Keep Employee Motivation High

7 Strategies to Keep Employee Motivation High

Highly motivated employees are essential to the success of any business. Most people spend a third of their lives at work.[1] That’s a significant amount of time away from home, apart from the people who make us happy and the things we love to do. So keeping employee motivation high is essential for creating an office environment that gets the best out of our people.

But do you know what motivates your people?

It’s simple:

  • Is their work stimulating?
  • Does it challenge them?
  • Is there room to grow, a promotion perhaps?
  • Do you encourage creativity?
  • Can they speak openly and honestly with you?
  • Do you praise them?
  • Do you trust your staff to take ownership of their work?
  • Do they feel safe in their work environment?
  • And more importantly, do you pay them properly?

Every one of these factors contributes to the general happiness of your employees. It’s what motivates them to come into the office each day and work hard, hit goals, and get results.

In contrast, an unmotivated employee is typically unhappy. They take more sick days, they’re not invested in seeing your business succeed, and they’re always on the lookout for something better.

Stats show that 81 percent of employees would consider leaving their jobs today if the right opportunity presented itself.[2] So it’s up to you to set aside time and energy to create a work environment that benefits every one of your employees.

These seven strategies will help you motivate your people to consistently deliver quality work and, more importantly, to stick around for the long term.

1. Be Someone They Can Rely On

You rely on your people to turn up to work each day, to come to you when they have a problem they can’t solve, to be honest, and to always engage professionally with customers.

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But this is not a one-way street. You, too, need to be someone your team can rely on. They trust you to have their backs when a client is unreasonable, to know that the decisions they make are in your best interest, and to make good on your promises.

If you say you’ll attend an important meeting, be there. If your company makes a profit and you’ve said you’ll pay a bonus, pay it. The goodwill of your people is something you never want to test, let alone lose.

Be reliable; it’s astounding how much this motivates your people.

2. Create an Awesome Company Culture

There’s no denying that company culture trickles down from the top. Your leadership and attitude massively influences the attitudes, work ethic, and happiness of your staff. If you’re always stressed-out, overly demanding, and unreasonable, it’ll create tension in your office which will adversely affect your employees’ motivation levels.

In fact, the HAYS “US What People Want Survey” found that 47 percent of staff who are actively looking for a new job, pinpoint company culture as the driving force behind their reason to leave.

So if you have high staff turnover, you need to determine whether your company culture might be the motivating factor behind your churn rate.

Here are four ways to build a culture that keeps your employees highly motivated.

  • Be conscious of the image you present. Your body language and attitude can positively or negatively impact your employees. So come to work energized. Be optimistic, friendly, and engaging—this enthusiasm will spill over to your people and motivate them to be more productive and efficient.
  • Appreciate your people and be reasonable. Celebrate your team’s achievements. If they’re doing a good job, tell them. Encourage them to challenge themselves and try new things. And reward when deserved. If they’re struggling, help them. Work together to find solutions and be a sounding board for their ideas.
  • Be flexible. Give your people opportunities to work remotely—this is highly motivating to staff, particularly millennials. They don’t want to be battling traffic each day on their way to work. They don’t want to miss their kids’ baseball games or ballet rehearsals. Stats show that companies that offer flextime and the ability to work from home or a coffee shop have happier and more productive employees.
  • Create employee-friendly work environments. These are spaces that inspire and ignite the imagination. Have you ever been to Google’s offices? No headquarter is the same. From indoor slides and food trucks, to hammocks, and funky work pods on the wall, gaming rooms, and tranquil interior gardens, there’s something for everyone. It’s a space where people want to be, catering to their need for creativity, quiet, or team building; you name it.

So take a look at your company culture and ask yourself, Is my business an attractive workplace for talented professionals? Does it inspire commitment and motivate my people? What could I do to improve my company culture?

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3. Touch Base with Your Team Weekly

Make time for your people, whether you run a remote business or work in an office, set aside time each week to talk to your people one-on-one. It’s non-negotiable.

When there’s an open line of communication between staff members, work gets done. Don’t believe me? A study by Gallup found that 26 percent of employees said feedback from their leaders helps them to do a better job.[3]

Your people want to feel trusted. They want to take ownership of their work, but they also need to know that when they have a question, they can reach out and get answers. If you’re unwilling to make yourself available, your team will quickly become unmotivated, work will stagnate, and your business will stop growing.

So block off time on your calendar each week to touch base with your people, even if only to let them know that what they’re working on matters.

4. Give Them the Tools They Need to Do Their Jobs Well

Imagine trying to run your business without electricity. How would you contact your clients? What would happen when your phone or computer battery died?

Technology is super critical to the success of your businesses. It allows you to work more efficiently, to be more productive, and to handle matters on-the-go. That’s why you need to give your people tools that will make their jobs easier.

Make sure their equipment is in good working condition. There’s nothing more frustrating than a laptop that takes ages to boot up. It’s got to go. Replace outdated software with new software. Don’t make your designer work in Coreldraw; give them access to the most up-to-date version of Adobe Creative Suite. Take it a step further and buy them a subscription to Shutterstock or Getty Images.

Make working for you a pleasure, not a pain; and watch your employees’ motivation levels rise.

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5. Provide Opportunities to Learn and Upskill

Would you believe me if I told you that 33 percent of people cite boredom and a need for new challenges as the top reason for leaving their job?[4] If you want to retain your talent, you need to upskill.

Thanks to technology, we live in a rapidly evolving world that demands we change with it. A copywriter is no longer just a writer; they now need to be experts in SEO, Google Adwords, CRMs, and so much more.

A pastry chef needs to be a food stylist, photographer, and social media manager. An entrepreneur needs to be a marketer—or at least take ownership of the marketing message for their business—if they hope to scale.

Technology makes all of this possible. No matter your location, your people can continuously expand their knowledge and gain new skill sets—something that’s highly motivating to employees. They want to know that there are opportunities to grow and develop themselves.

If you won’t invest in your people, then your business becomes just another job to tide them over until they find where they truly belong. So be the company that sees value in developing its people.

6. Monitor Their Workload

Overworked employees tend to be unproductive and unhappy. Your people cannot be at full capacity every day, month to month. Something’s got to give. They’ll become deflated and their work will eventually suffer, which will negatively impact your business.

What I like to do is implement a traffic light system. It helps me to keep a finger on the pulse of my business. So there’s red, yellow, and green:

  • Red means they’re fully loaded.
  • Yellow means they’re busy, but they can potentially take on more.
  • Green means they haven’t got enough to do.

I use this traffic light system because I don’t want my team members to be stressed out of their brains all the time. If they are, they won’t make good decisions and they won’t do good work.

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If my people are regularly overloaded, I have things to think about. Perhaps I need to hire a new person to help ease the load or take a closer look at what projects are good to go, and which can take a back seat.

And this is why #3 is essential. If I’m regularly engaging with my people, I’ll know that while they’re coping with their workload, it is impacting their performance and health, and I’ll take action.

7. Don’t Mess Around with Your Employees’ Pay

Never mess around with your people’s salary. As a business owner or high-level manager, it’s easy to forget that most people live from paycheck to paycheck. Delayed compensation can mean a missed bill payment, which could result in costly penalties they can’t afford or hits to their credit score.

So it’s your job to ensure that you pay your people on time.

The Bottom Line

A motivated team is an asset to any business. These people never give up. They get excited about coming to work each day and can’t wait to test a new theory or tackle a particularly tricky challenge. They’re proud of the work they do. And more importantly, they have no reason to leave.

Wouldn’t you rather be part of their success story than the business that drove them away?

More to Motivate Your Team

Featured photo credit: Emma Dau via unsplash.com

Reference

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