As I have mentioned, I am still young and I am learning a lot – but one thing that I have really learned about leadership is that you should never go at it alone. When I was college, I kept hearing one over-arching theme from a lot of very wise people. It was that you need a mentor – someone that you can walk alongside of in life. I have been blessed to have some great people step into my life and offer me some great counsel.
As you think about a mentor relationship I have a few pieces of advise that I have found to be helpful:
- You need to find someone who can be involved with your life but at the same time not immersed in the day-to-day activities of your life
– I think that it is great to have bosses, co-workers, and family members who can be of counsel to you in life, but I also think that it is very important to have some people who are a bit more removed to walk along side of you. I find this so helpful, because as much as they understand what is going on, they are able to see it from a much bigger perspective.
- You need to be specific of what the outcomes that you desire
– I think that you make the most of the relationship if you know what you need to work on and what you need to improve. If you know what the goals are it is much easier to have someone help you achieve them. I personally have developed 1, 3, and 5 year goals and I am open to share these with the people that I look to for counsel in life. They can help hold me accountable and also help me accomplish all that I want to accomplish.
- You need to ask what can I give before you ask what can I get
– I am constantly learning that a mentor relationship is a 2-way relationship and that the mentee (not sure if this is a word) can also influence the life of the mentor. Do not underestimate what you can bring to the table to influence others. This is a fun thing to learn and I feel like it is not natural, but I also think that it makes the most of the relationship.
How about you? How do you approach your mentor relationships? Do you have a mentor? How have they impacted your life and how have you impacted their’s?