There are many positive reasons to find a mentor at work. Maybe you are floundering in your job. Perhaps you just cannot seem to get past a certain hurdle. You may be the type of person who works best with peer supervision, and gets their best ideas from bouncing ideas off of someone who has been successful. Or, maybe you just want to be the best you can be, and give yourself the chance for forward movement within the company. There are a number of things to consider when looking for a mentor, and we are going to address them here. Having a good fit, an enjoyable person, and someone who possesses a vast array of skills is only part of the selection process. Also, this selections process probably works two ways, as you are asking someone to take on extra work to help mentor you.
How to Find a Mentor at Work?
It is a very good idea to know your mentor, well if possible.
First, a stranger is going to be less likely to be open to mentoring someone. Second, you want to know the person’s work inside and out, so that you feel confident with the person you are choosing. Also, if you know them, you probably have a good sense if they would be open to a mentor type of situation. If you ask a stranger, the answer is almost always “no.” If you ask a respected colleague they are more likely to be flattered and believe in your motivations for wanting a mentor. Someone you know is also more likely to give you honest and practical advice. They will understand how you learn, and how to approach you, so you avoid a lot of the learning process when it comes to strangers getting to know each other.
Pick someone that you like as a mentor.
You are going to be spending a great deal of time with this person, and getting honest feedback. So, it becomes essential that this is someone that you enjoy being around. It will make both of you more open to the process. The mentor will feel more able to be open with you, and the mentee will understand that feedback is coming from a good place. Another reason to pick someone where there is mutual affection is that they will genuinely invested in you doing well. There will not be a sense of competition holding them back. Instead, they want you to grow and thrive, so they are going to be helpful, open, and give you tools that you will never receive from a stranger. It is human nature for a stranger to only want to teach you do much and let you go so far, they do not want you surpassing them.
You have to remember that you are a huge part of the success of your mentor – mentee relationship.
You cannot sit back and not ask questions, just observe and not get involved, and not use your mentor for the skills that made them attractive to you in the first place. Ask tons of questions, as long as you don’t feel like they are getting annoyed. Get in their head and try to understand their process. Ask if they can delegate small tasks to you, and then the two of you can review your work, so that you can constantly be improving upon yourself. Be supportive of the success of not only your mentor’s success, but the success of others. No one wants to work with someone who is bitter, and who cannot be happy for others. A good mentor will want you to step back and see why these people are getting the accolades they are, and what skills they have that you could develop. If you are able to do this, it expands the skills the two of you can work on tremendously.
Lastly, ask yourself what you want into a mentor.
You have a very clear idea of what you want in a friend and a partner, and this could prove to be just as a significant a relationship. You spend a quarter of your life at work, and you have aspirations of a bright future for yourself. So, you don’t want to just pick someone who is enjoyable, you want to pick someone who possesses the professional qualities you are looking to emulate. While one person may be more fun, they may not tick off all the boxes that you want and need. So, make sure you have a good balance between enjoyment and achievement. The fact of the matter is, they likely have done so well because they possess such a good balance of those two qualities. People enjoy being around them, and they respect their work. The bottom line, is put the word out, know what you are looking for, and be very actively involved in the process if someone is willing to take you on, as they are really trying to help you move forward.