Workplace Relationships

It’s Time to Thank Your Mentor

thank_mentor_webIn America, Thank Your Mentor Day is Thursday, Jan. 21, and is an initiative of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. To celebrate this day, many people will reach out to their mentors and thank them for the encouragement, guidance, and wisdom they’ve given. It’s a day for mentees to recognize and give thanks for the positive impact their mentors have left on their lives.

Do you have a mentor? Consider thanking them for all they’ve done to help you grow in your personal or professional career by:

  • Sending a thank-you note or email
  • Expressing your gratitude on social media
  • Sending your mentor flowers or other gifts
  • Taking your mentor to lunch

You can also write a tribute to your mentor on the Who Mentored You? Facebook page. If you write about your mentor, consider sending them a link so they can see the impact they’ve left on your life.

If you want to send a thank-you card, you can download one by clicking here.

And remember, passing on what your mentor has helped you learn may be one of the best ways to say thanks. You can reach out to a young person in your community and make a positive impact on their life just as your mentor has done for you.

How do you show thanks to your mentor? Let us know in the comments section below!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Mentoring in the Digital Age

digital_mentorship_webMany successful people can say they’ve met at least one person who has left a significant positive impact on their life or career. That person may be a teacher, coach, boss, co-worker, or other important relationship.

Today, an increasing number of professionals are seeking out mentors as a professional development tool, and through mentoring, many have seen improvements in productivity, leadership skills, and career advancement.

In this digital age, mentoring takes on a whole different look. No longer are we limited to coffee shop meetings or phone calls. With the advent of social media and email, mentoring now comes in easy, fast, and variable forms.

Though the way mentees communicate with mentors may have changed, one thing remains the same. If you want a mentor, you have to seek one out and be deliberate and proactive in that search.

And to help you make the most of your mentor relationship, we’ve gathered four useful tips.

  1. Respect your mentor’s time. Even with the ease of technology, digital mentors may not be able to reply to you or contact you immediately. It’s important to set expectations with your mentor and ask for their support before bombarding them with questions or tight deadlines.
  2. Don’t discriminate on age. Not all mentors have to be older than you. In today’s digital world, many people can learn from younger mentors who are tech-savvy. Mentorship is about having a trusted relationship, a desire to learn, and an open mind. Don’t discount potential digital mentors simply because of their age.
  3. Mentoring online requires trust. Any professional relationship needs to be confidential, so resist the urge to share what your mentor or your mentee tells you on social media or other digital platforms. A mentoring relationship is based on being honest about fears and failures, and if you share those fears publically without permission, you’re likely to lose the trust of your mentor or mentee.
  4. Don’t limit yourself. While reaching out online for a mentor is acceptable, it’s likely that you will want to meet your mentor in person at some point. Good mentoring relationships may begin digitally, but end with a real connection. Whether that connection is an actual meeting or a phone call, be prepared to move your mentoring relationship into the real world.

The internet and platforms like Periscope, Facebook, and instant messaging are creating opportunities for mentees to connect with mentors on a global scale. Furthermore, they offer a place to interact in real time with those mentors.

Remember, when done well, mentorship is a give-and-take relationship. Both parties, either in person or online, can enrich their knowledge and improve their careers.

Have you had a digital mentor? How did that relationship work for you? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Building Important Relationships Through Mentorship

building_relationships_through_mentorships_webMentorships have been around for centuries as a way to build personal development and growth. According to Mentoring.org, mentoring “guarantees young people that there is someone who cares about them, assures them they are not alone in dealing with day-to-day challenges, and makes them feel like they matter.”

In fact, research confirms that quality mentoring relationships can help young people in various areas of life, including personal, academic, and professional.

Key Factors for Positive Mentorships
Since mentoring relationships are so beneficial, it’s important to understand what goes into a successful mentorship. According to research, most of the mentors in failed mentoring relationships hold a belief that they should reform, or fix, their mentee. Alternatively, almost all of the mentors in successful relationships believe their role is to support the mentee, or help them develop and grow.

The Hamilton Fish Institute, a research organization for safer schools, revealed 10 important features of successful mentors, including:

  • Be a friend.
  • Have realistic goals and expectations.
  • Give the mentee a voice and choice in decisions.
  • Be positive.
  • Let the mentee have control over what you talk about.

In order to better prepare yourself for a mentoring relationship, whether you’re the mentor or mentee, let’s dig a little deeper into three of those features.

Be a friend.
Mentors can be anyone of any age, gender, ethnicity, education or professional level, or background. For example, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America helps volunteers connect with youth in need of guidance and support. The key to being a great Big Brother or Big Sister is being a friend first. Leadership, guidance, advice, and trust come much easier when a friendship is already established.

If you are looking for a mentor or already have one, it may be difficult to build trust initially. But, if your mentor’s intentions truly are to help you grow and develop, trusting their advice and action plans can help you get where you want to be in your life, education, or career. And remember – it’s important to look at your mentors as friends, but it’s equally important to respect them as authority figures.

Have realistic goals and expectations.
As with all new ventures and relationships, it’s important to set realistic expectations. If you go into a mentorship with the goal of changing your mentee, but your mentee’s goal is to stay on the same path they’re already on, there are going to be disagreements and frustrations. Mentors should focus on establishing a positive relationship built on trust and friendship first. From there, the mentee and mentor can set expectations together.

Mentees should also approach the relationship with realistic expectations. If your mentor is a business leader, it may not be realistic to expect you’ll land a job with their company because of your connection. Instead of facing possible disappointment in the future, discuss your expectations up front. That way, you’ll be on the same page and you can set goals that will help you develop and grow.

Be Positive
Compliments and positive attitudes can go a long way. As a mentor, it’s important to offer praise and encouragement to help build your mentee’s self-esteem. Instead of criticizing mistakes, try to be supportive and ask how you can help the situation. According to the Hamilton Fish Institute, “One of the most important things you can do as a mentor is to help your mentee develop self-esteem and self-confidence.”

Likewise, being positive applies to the mentee as well. If you have a mentor, always be courteous and appreciative of their time and advice. You may not always agree with their suggestions, but it’s important to remain positive when you explain your opinion. When both people in a mentorship are positive and respectful, much more can be accomplished.

How do you build successful mentorships? Do you have a mentor? Are you a mentor? Share your story in the comments section below!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

5 Ways to Show Appreciation for Your Boss

appreciate_boss_webBeing the boss can be tough. You have to keep up with everything, assign work, and evaluate employees. But, supervisors are still human and want to feel appreciated.

So, when was the last time you and your co-workers showed appreciation to your boss? Since showing appreciation is important, here are five ways to give thanks to your boss this holiday season.

Offer the Gift of Time
Taking the time to listen and talk with your boss is a simple way to show appreciation. Offer to take on a few tasks to help lessen your supervisor’s workload. Your boss gets overwhelmed just like you do, so showing appreciation with the gift of time is invaluable.

Open Up
Next time you have an appropriate chance, ask your boss something that doesn’t have to do with work. Ask their opinion about a news story or advice on vacation plans. Ask about their family or just simply ask how they are doing. Giving your boss the opportunity to talk about what he or she is passionate about can create a bond that also shows you are genuinely interested in your boss as a person.

Respect Your Boss
One of the easiest and most important ways to appreciate your boss is to simply show him or her respect. Respect can be shown by working hard on projects, being at work on time, volunteering new ideas, supporting your boss’ decisions, and listening attentively.

Stay Positive
Being a positive influence in the office means more than you think. Try to be helpful, cheerful, and willing to take on new tasks or projects. Enthusiastically asking for ways you can help out more at the office also shows a sunny disposition, and chances are your boss will appreciate your positive attitude.

Give Thanks
Many people have forgotten the simple gift of saying “thank you.” For instance, if your supervisor gives you a new project, thank him or her for the opportunity. If you get approval on an idea, be quick to show your gratitude. For big projects or requests, a handwritten thank-you note is a nice touch as well.

Everyone likes to be appreciated, and showing gratitude can go a long way. Start a culture of appreciation in your office, and more than likely, you’ll start to see appreciation come your way as well.

How do you express your appreciation for your co-workers or boss? Share your best tips with us in the comments section below!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Boss’s Day – Showing Appreciation to Your Boss

Boss’s Day is Friday, Oct. 16! This day is dedicated to showing appreciation for managers and those who lead in the workplace. If you’d like to join in the celebration of bosses across the country, check out these easy gift ideas.

  • Card – This inexpensive gift can show a lot of thoughtfulness. Gather your co-workers and have them all sign a card for your boss to show your appreciation.
  • Spa in a jar – Fill a large jar, bucket, or basket, with items to help your boss relax – like a manicure set, fingernail polish, lotion, or candle.
  • Golf basket – If your boss enjoys time on the course, fill a bucket or basket with golf balls, tees, and other accessories.
  • Gift cards – Does your boss enjoy a fresh cup of coffee? Pick up a gift card to a local shop in the amount you’re comfortable gifting. You can ask for an empty cup and use it as your gift card holder. Consider adding a note, like “Thanks a latte for being a great boss!”
  • Homemade treats – Put your baking skills to use by making some of your favorite recipes. Try desserts for an afternoon treat, or muffins or other breakfast items to start the day off right.
  • Desk organizer – There are a variety of functional desk organizers for sale in many stores. If your boss likes to stay organized, this may be the perfect gift for them. You can even make one yourself with a little creativity and the right supplies.
  • Coffee mug – Even if your boss doesn’t drink coffee, chances are they could use a mug for tea, cocoa, or other drinks. Consider your boss’s personality, likes, and dislikes before picking out the perfect mug.

What ideas do you have for Boss’s Day? Share with us in the comments section below!

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Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Peak Performer’s Life: Here’s How to Build Trust

walterbond_webBuilding trust is an important part of any relationship—personal or professional. Trust and integrity isn’t about being perfect; but rather, owning up to responsibilities and mistakes, and treating others the same way you would want to be treated. This week on Peak Performer’s Life, Walter Bond continues his discussion on integrity—how building trust, doing the right thing, and treating others well builds your integrity.

According to Walter:

“I believe you know people who always make excuses, always justify, and try to explain their mistakes away. And here’s why they do it—they are really under pressure to be perfect.”

 

How do you own up to your mistakes? What have you done to show that despite your imperfections, you are dedicated to integrity? Let us know in the comments section below.

New messages each week!
Walter Bond and Peak Performer’s Life is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals. Don’t forget to check back each week for a new message from Walter Bond.

 

About Walter Bond
A former American professional basketball player, Walter Bond’s NBA career included 153 games with the Dallas Mavericks, Utah Jazz, and Detroit Pistons. Now, Walter takes what he learned from his life on the court and translates it into motivational and educational messages for thriving businesses and careers. For more information, visit WalterBond.com.

 

What to Expect From Your Mentorship

what_to_expect_mentorship_webSo, you have a mentor. Whether they’re a personal, business, or school mentor, you’re lucky to now be in a relationship that can help you grow and succeed in your professional and personal life.

Like all relationships, both sides have responsibilities. It’s important to remember that the mentor doesn’t do all the work – you have to put in your own level of effort and time too. Your mentor takes an active role in guiding and helping you, but you also have to let them know about what you want to learn, your challenges, your hopes, and more.

What To Expect From Your Mentor
Let’s talk about what a mentor actually does. A mentor will:

  • Offer encouragement and ongoing support
  • Listen to things that are worrying you and give constructive, unbiased support
  • Share stories and examples of their own failures and victories
  • Provide honest feedback and suggestions
  • Act as a sounding board for ideas and dreams
  • Help with making decisions by offering alternative views based on experience
  • Introduce you to contacts to further your personal and business development

So, that’s what a mentor does. Now, let’s take a look at what a mentor does not do. Your mentor will not:

  • Be your own private counselor or therapist
  • Give you specific business advice, like tax or legal help
  • Provide a free training course
  • Be responsible for the success of your business, schoolwork, etc.
  • Be expected to support you financially

What is Your Role in the Relationship?
Recently, we’ve talked a lot about mentors and how valuable they are. In this type of relationship, you have a role to play as well. So, what is expected from you as a mentee?

A mentee is expected to:

  • Be organized and proactive about asking for advice and sharing needs
  • Come prepared to meetings and arrive on time
  • Follow up with assignments or tasks related to the mentorship
  • Discuss how the mentor can challenge him or her to grow and develop strengths
  • Take constructive criticism in the spirit in which it is given
  • Demonstrate listening skills

Think of mentorships as a friendship. Mentors should genuinely care about how to help you reach your goals or be successful. In turn, your role as a mentee means you make an effort to appreciate the time and care your mentor gives to you.

What are some other responsibilities a mentee has to his or her mentor? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.