Mentoring has been a key to building up employees for centuries....but picking a mentor within your organization or mentoring an employee should be only a fraction of your mentoring ability. When I was job hunting right out of college, training and mentorship were a vital factor in the companies I chose to interview. How else would I grow in an job if there was no one within the organization that was willing to teach me the path to success. Unfortunately while I was job hunting I found something disturbing in today's workforce....very few companies valued mentoring. Most places I interviewed with were surprised at my desire to learn the basics of a business and work my way up. It was only later that I realized that most of these managers were more concerned about their own skin than training an employee to excel in their job. Now years later it was this and so many other lessons that drove me to start me own business, but in the process I completely lost the opportunity to have a co-worker mentor me.
While growing my business I began to network and soon discovered the need to find men and women that could be a soundboard of wisdom as I entered my new venture. It was during my networking events that I encountered individuals that took the time to invest in me and my future. It is because of my networking that I avoided many pitfalls within my business when I first started.
Now I am not saying stop mentoring your employees....because that is a VITAL part to a company's growth and building your company culture. But with many businesses engaging in networking you may run across some people that you can take under your win and give your guidance and expertise. On the other side, you should not use your networking opportunities just for the sake of networking, but as a way to expand your inner circle and seek out people that can help you grow both personally and professionally. Below are some keys to look for when picking mentors in your networking circles:
- Pick mentors from different backgrounds and even industries. People from different walks of life will have a different perspective and you will have access to a larger knowledge base.
- Pick mentors that have seen success. When picking a mentor you want to pick ones that have reached a level of success that you wish to reach in the future. This does not mean they must be in your industry, but they have seen success and failure in their career and learning from them will help you grow. In order to reach success they will have had a few failures and the lessons from those experiences your mentor had could help your future.
- Make sure there is room in their schedule. Executives and business owners are playing a balancing act and you do not want to add to their stress by sucking away their time; therefore be mindful that you pick people that do have a little wiggle room in their schedule. You do NOT need to meet with them constantly but ask to pick their brain every once in a while and ask for the expertise.
As the quote above states....networking and mentorship are blurring....do not miss out on the opportunities to mentor or be mentored. You must take the first step towards growth or helping someone grow. Leave me a comment below and let me know the experiences you have had in "Mentworking."
If you are seeking a mentor and would like to connect, click the “Contact Us Now” button and I would love to be of assistance.