Do you remember your first job and how you were able to thrive in the new role at work? Your drive, initiative and passion for doing great things kicked started your career. In addition, your ability to reduce the “workload learning curve” may have been the result of the support of a co-worker, team leader or senior staffer looking out for you. In business terms this person is referred to as a mentor.
A mentor can be a formal or informal career adviser who may help you wade through the myriad of office politics and work requirements. For example, if you are having an issue getting a new idea heard by office leadership, a mentor may be able to steer you towards the actual power source that has decision making capability as well as interest in your initiatives.
A successful mentor/mentee relationship starts off by communicating your goals for the collaboration. Then schedule mentor meeting times, stretch assignments as well as networking opportunities that will meet your work schedule availability. In addition, if the mentor/mentee relationship is not mutually beneficial due, be honest about the lack of connection by using open and honest communication. Think about what you have learned and then move on without judgment.
Mentors are great in helping people find their career path by engaging in honest dialogue about the mentee’s overall career aspirations. Sometimes that means realizing that your career goals may change directions from the work you are currently focusing on at the office. Recently, an unexpected mentor at work suggested that I write out my 5-year plan and socialize it with decision makers that I know at work. The goal is to let leadership know that I have a career plan that I want to move forward and plan to achieve it within a specific time frame. Also, when you write down your goals, you become motivated to move toward the direction of success.
Moreover, some mentors have the ability to listen to your work concerns and suspend judgment at the same time. A mentor is not there to solve your issues. Also, a mentor serves as a guide by encouraging their mentee into resolving their own issues by tapping into inner their inner strengths. As we move toward the New Year, consider becoming a mentor as part of your new year’s resolution.
Tracey Batacan is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.