Mentorship at A Workplace
First time I read about mentorship I realize that I have always have mentors without having known what they were called. During my six years in Telkomsel, I have worked under 4 different managers and 2 GMs (general manager) — most of them I considered as my mentor. Some IT tower units and some Business Users I have worked closely with have been acted as a mentor for me too.
To have an ally in your professional life is not only advantageous but also a huge relieve feeling-wise alone. Not everyone is lucky enough to have a good relationship with their superiors. If you see them as a mentor rather than boss, you might be able to revolutionize your relationship with them. I will share some points on mentorship at a workplace based on what I read and what I experience. Hope this will help you in your endeavor to find one.
Who is your mentor?
Is it your manager? It can be, but it does not have to be. It could be anyone, someone you look up to at work, someone who can act as your teacher, inside or even outside your department or division. A mentor is a role model, someone you aspire to be. Someone to groom you to become the person you want to become, to achieve things you aspire to be. It is a partnership build on a mutual respect. A discussion partners. Someone whose advice you trust. Someone who can help you get on top, or simply to keep you hype up in achieving them.
The easiest place to start looking for a mentor is your direct report i.e., your boss. But really, you can look anywhere. And you do not have to limit yourself with one mentor only. A successful mentor — mentee relationship between boss and subordinate will create a lifetime of professional friendship long after you no longer working together.
For me it’s been managers and GMs that has worked and still work closely with me, each with different qualities of their own that I admire and aspire to be.
Why you should have mentor?
Typically, a mentor is someone who is several levels above you, professionally. Thus, they have more knowledge and networking. They know what it takes to get on top and they can help point you to the right direction, “showing the rope”. You can mirror their way of working and absorb their wisdom. They can open opportunities and connect you with the right person. One must learn and work hard indeed, but having a mentor can help direct you to focus your energy to things that matter the most. A mentor can also advocate your achievement and quality around your organization.
I have consulted my mentor on numerous cases. From the report I make — “Please have a look, do you think this is easy to understand?” — to cases I found in my projects — “I have this issue and plan on doing this, do you think it is the best approached for this case?”. One I constantly asked is “I think this and that, do you think the same or have I let my personal feeling clouded my judgement?”. I know my view is limited to my experience and theirs are wider and wiser, thus having their input on how I view things help me leverage mine.
Creating a successful mentor mentee relationship
To be a good mentee, you have to be proactive. You need them, so you come to them. Make it easy for them to mentor you. Take initiative and be respectful of their time, if they make time for you, make it valuable. Since you are the mentee, any action points that came from your discussion is your responsibility. Make sure sensitive discussion between you and your mentor are confidential. If they let you on a QT information, keep their trust. Make sure you keep them up to date of the progress. Try your best to make the relationship two ways, offer to help them on their project that can use your support. Whenever you implement their advice and receive good result, let them know that they have helped you achieve something. When they give you constructive feedback, make sure to implement it and let them know. Show how their mentorship has helped you grow and be better in your work.
I realized mentorship might not suitable for everyone. But having one has been a great help me personally-especially if you have not yet reach managerial level and has not yet developed strategical thinking of your own. Mimicking theirs will help you find yours.
Now look around, have you find a mentor in your professional life? If not, maybe it’s time to look around and fine yourself one.