Everyone needs a mentor. Be it when you’ve hit puberty and you need someone to guide you through what happens next, to when you’ve taken your first shaky steps into a new workspace and feel like you’re 12 again.
Sometimes, in your search for mentorship you come across multiple people who seem like they will guide you along every step of the way. But more often than not, these are part-time advisers, who help you for a little while but always expect something in return.
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So the question is, how do you find a true mentor? Someone who will proudly make you their protégée and teach you everything they know and more?
Honesty is the best policy
Being appreciated or reprimanded for the work you do is a natural consequence of the professional world. A true mentor will always tell you like it is. If you’re work is commendable, they will be the first to recognise and praise it. However, if you are falling short on your effort-levels and productivity, then they will also be the one to point out your mistakes and ask you to do better. A true mentor has no filter when it comes to guiding their protégée, because their goal is to make sure that the latter reaches their maximum potential.
At any time of the day
A true mentor will make themselves available at any time of the day. There is no prescribed time period for you to approach them with a doubt or a question. It could be on a Sunday afternoon when you needed to confirm a Monday deadline, or it could be even be on a Saturday night when you needed help on the proposal you were working on over the weekend. Unless specified, a mentor should always be approachable and open to take your questions and solve your doubts to the best of their ability.
Ask me anything
Sometimes, you hold back from asking a supervisor a small doubt or question you may have about the work you have been allotted. This is due to the fear of being judged for asking an inane question, which essentially, you believe will be wasting their time. However, a true mentor will always encourage you to ask even your slightest doubt. The first thing they will tell you is that no matter how big or small the question, you will never be condemned or criticised for wishing to clear your doubt.
Got your back
There will be times when the hierarchy kicks in, when you are meeting clients and outside partners in a meeting with your supervisors. At times like these, there is a natural tendency for you to feel intimidated by the speculating look in everyone’s faces and the many questions they can ask you regarding your job. However, a true mentor will always have your back in front of everyone else. No matter what the situation, they will always speak up for you and protect you from any undue attack from outsiders. They may even chastise you later in private, but the world will understand that to get to you, they will have to get through them first.
Always room for growth
When you overshoot yourself and let overconfidence get in the way of your work quality, it is your mentor who will bring you back to ground. No matter how good or average your work is, they will be sure to always remind you of your potential and tell you where you have room for improvement. Your mentor will never hold back from offering you constructive criticism and giving you pointers on how to incorporate them because your victory is their victory.
The truth is that a dedicated, hard-working employee will always attract the right mentor for themselves. Together, they will set out to conquer.