The Importance of Finding a Mentor
By Andrea Saenz
Many people have set a goal, perhaps in the form of a New Year’s resolution that, for one reason or another, has gone unmet. Perhaps you’ve started a diet, only to be drawn back to the allure of chocolate. Or you’ve joined a gym one month, and found your running shoes collecting dust the next. While it is one thing to be motivated toward a desire or project at the start, it is quite another to see that project through to completion.
That’s why, in your work life, accountability and personal responsibility are so important. You can’t afford to let your career goals fall by the wayside, so you must identify ways to maximize your personal growth and development.
Companies can help their employees achieve this through a mentorship program. A mentor can be that guide, that coach, that partner who can help employees get to where they want to go. It is somebody who is going to hold them accountable, understanding their goals and visions of what they want to achieve in their field.
So how can employees identify a mentor? Begin by assessing those around you. Take note of the people who exemplify the characteristics of leadership that you value. Find someone who inspires you to be the best version of yourself, someone you wish to emulate.
You may need to cycle through several would-be mentors before you find the right fit, as it can be difficult to find somebody that can be objective and tell you not what you want to hear but what you need to hear. But once you find someone you respect, whose words carry weight, you can create a lasting partnership. And keep in mind that a mentor doesn’t have to come from your same department or even your same field. As long as the person has characteristics that you wish to develop for yourself, the relationship has value.
Once a mentorship is established, communication is key. Book time, for example, once a month, for a lunch outside the office, where your mentor can assess your development, your strengths and weaknesses, and areas that need improvement. Be transparent with each other and treat the meetings professionally, as you would any other business meeting.
Accountability is the backbone of personal development. Without it, it’s too easy to get sidetracked. So consider the benefits of a partner who will keep you focused on the big picture, offering constructive criticism and positive reinforcement, and celebrating with you at every milestone along the way.
Andrea Saenz is a Project Manager at Wiss where she manages the day to day scheduling of work amongst staff and organizes firm-wide social events and culture activities. Reach Andrea at firstname.lastname@example.org or 973.994.9400.