WORKPLACE SUCCESS / 30 July 2019How to Deal with a Toxic Work Environment
Finding and keeping a great mentor is not a task that should be taken lightly, this process rarely involves the explicit question of “will you be my mentor?” Much like any aspect of the professional world, finding a mentor takes diligence and manners. Mentor-mentee relationships are most likely to happen as any relationship might: through a natural process of getting to know each other and through mutual give-and-take.
Here are some resources that will help you find (and keep) a mentor:
Look For Mentors Everywhere!:
Sometimes, the best mentors don’t even work in the same field as you. I’ve had wonderful mentors that have tremendous knowledge to share but have had nothing to do with my communication/marketing background. Oftentimes, the fact that they are in a different field is helpful seeing that they can see a broader picture from a completely refreshing aspect. Choose a mentor based on their drive and passion, ignore their industries.
When looking for a mentor, look everywhere! This applies not only to being open to people in different industries, but also being open to having a mentor be someone you know socially, a friend of a friend or a peer. Who knows, the co-worker standing next to you could be an important contact in your future. Have a conversation and network with not only your bosses but also everyone else, because you never know what could happen.
Keep in mind that not everyone is like you. For myself, I have to remember that not everyone is a 21-year-old college student; think like the person you are trying to attract. Your potential mentors could have children they want to get home to, pressing work engagements or even dinner reservations. Bottom line: everyone is busy. It’s very important to be aware of how much time they have to give you.
With that being said, follow up with what you’re up to. A quick bi-monthly email updating them on your progress and professional life can keep you on top of your mentor’s mind. You’re not being annoying but rather diligent. If you have questions for your mentor, then ask politely and professionally.
Don’t Treat Your Mentor Like Google:
Your mentor will not have all of the answers. This should be a give and take relationship. Being a mentor is about believing in somebody and sharing your wisdom/ experiences/ knowledge. Don’t expect people to tell you what to do, expect them to tell you the who/where/when and why. If you need more help forming questions, read this article for 10 killer questions to make the most of your mentorship.
Don’t Be Greedy:
Mentors are not like Costco Sample booths on a Saturday afternoon, it’s not a free for all! The mentor-mentee relationship is a two-way street, more like a potluck. Make sure to give to your mentors before you get; they are busy people who have limited time and attention to give.
Just because someone has more experience than you or success in their industry, does not mean that your advice wouldn’t be helpful to them. Everyone needs a new perspective! Contribute to their lives and revolutionize your mentorship experience!
Be sharp and figure out something your future mentors might need. If you see your potential mentor posting a question on social media, respond with a useful answer that shows your presence and smarts. Don’t ask for mentorship right off the bat, just be helpful and supportive. Tweet out their posts, share their updates, refer new clients. Start small and let the relationship grow naturally like any other. Start small then move onto asking more questions and setting up meet-ups (mindful meet-ups, see the tips above).
Don’t worry if some of the mentors you reach out to are uninterested in developing a relationship or are just not clicking with you. Make connections and network with lots of potential mentors; don’t limit your focus on just one.
Can’t Find Mentors? Look Online!:
There are many online platforms including social media sites where you can make yourself helpful to an online mentor. Start small and let the relationship grow naturally. If they are on LinkedIn, try getting their attention by posting relevant material, comment in a positive way on their blogs, share their updates, start a discussion on LinkedIn drawing on their posts…etc. Offer your unique voice to further the conversation.
Don’t Be entitled!:
This is a problem that many millennials like myself have. Don’t think of a mentorship as something you deserve but rather as something you work towards. Mentors will give you as much as you give them so make sure you put in time and energy.
One way to find a mentor online is by creating a free candidate profile with ProSky to get started with getting exposure to many companies looking to hire. Again, exposure is the first step to finding a potential mentor. Working with Online platforms such as ProSky and partaking in projects and challenges that can teach you new, in-demand skills that companies are looking for will not only allow you to contribute more perspective to your mentors but will also get your foot in the door by allowing you to meet CEOs, project leaders, peers and anyone else who could be a potential mentor to you in the future.