Tag Archives: mentorship

Mentoring 101: Finding the Right Fit is Key to Successful Relationships

Mentorships are a time-honored tradition in the workforce. From entry-level recent graduates to mid-career professionals making a move toward the C-suite, there’s an opportunity to take an employee’s training and development to the next level through mentorship relationships.

And the statistics show mentors can have a major impact on not just the mentee’s success, but also on the productivity of a business overall.

According to the 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey, younger employees intending to stay with their organization more than five years are twice as likely to have a mentor. And, 71 percent of those likely to leave in the next two years are unhappy with how their leadership skills are being developed.

So, there’s little doubt that a strong culture of mentorship is important for building a productive and engaged workforce.

But before you jump headfirst into a mentor relationship with a bright, up-and-coming employee, there are a few considerations you should make to ensure the relationship is productive for everyone involved.

What can you offer vs. what does your mentee need?
First and foremost, is the relationship even a good fit? There’s much more to it than simply pairing a senior leader with a younger employee. Before any official relationship is established, there should be discussions about what the mentee’s goals are and what the mentor is willing and able to provide.

Forcing a poor fit will likely be a waste of time for both parties in the long run. Mentorships are first and foremost a relationship. And if either the mentor or the mentee are not getting what they need out of the arrangement, it’s best to be open and honest about the situation and to help each other find a better fit.

Is the mentee ready to learn?
There’s a saying that success is where preparation and opportunity meet. Even if you sense potential in a young employee, if they are not prepared to take the next step and make a commitment to a mentorship relationship, you shouldn’t try to rush it.

Again, this is where communication about what the mentor and mentee expect to gain out of the relationship plays a major role. If a mentor feels their potential mentee is not ready to fully engage in the process, it may be more beneficial to put the plan on hold until they are.

What can you learn from the mentee?
Mentorships aren’t a one-way street. No matter how experienced a mentor may be, there’s always something new to learn—and those lessons may very well come from their mentee. The best relationships are an exchange of knowledge where both parties benefit from the experience.

A millennial mentee, for example, may be able to teach a baby boomer mentor about the most current trends in social media or other communications technologies. Being blind to rank and open to learning new skills or taking advantage of each other’s unique expertise is key to a mutually beneficial relationship.

Mentorships take many forms and in the end, it’s up to the individuals involved to find the right fit for their development needs. Communication, setting expectations, and a willingness to learn are some of the most important characteristics of any great work relationship, and essential to successfully mentoring the next generation of leaders.

 

Important Career Lessons From This Year’s Super Bowl Teams

Super_Bowl_2016_webEvery year, the best of the best in the NFL gather to put it all on the line for the chance to earn the title “Super Bowl Champion.” While most of us will never have the opportunity to play in the Super Bowl, there are still plenty of important lessons we can learn from the teams who are gearing up to compete this Sunday. In fact, studying the players and coaches from both teams may just help you in your job search and career. To see how, take a look at these important career lessons from this year’s Super Bowl contenders.

Peyton Manning’s lesson on longevity.
On Sunday, Peyton Manning will become the oldest quarterback to start the Super Bowl. Manning began his career with the Indianapolis Colts in 1998, and is still playing nearly 20 years later. For an athlete, that’s an astounding feat. His longevity and perseverance are characteristics that make Manning an ideal employee. If you’re looking for a job, highlight any previous jobs you’ve held for a long period of time to showcase your dedication to your employers. If you’re currently in the workforce, consider Manning’s example of perseverance and remember that loyalty is a trait employers love.

The Panther’s lesson on competition.
The Carolina Panthers have never won a Super Bowl. While that may change this weekend, it remains a driving force that pushes them to excel. There’s no doubt they want to win, just like you want to land that interview or get hired. Last season, the Panthers finished the year with a losing record and now they’re playing for a championship. Take a lesson from the Panthers and polish up all aspects of your job search from your resume to your interview wardrobe. Spend a few moments updating your references and practicing popular interview questions so you’re prepared to take home the job search trophy when your opportunity comes.

Quarterbacks’ lesson on generational relationships.
When Peyton Manning and Cam Newton start the Super Bowl, they will have the largest age gap (13 years) between two quarterbacks in the history of the NFL. While 13 years isn’t a big difference in the workplace, its impact on the football game can teach us a thing or two about how different generations operate. Refresh Leadership, a blog for business leaders from Express Employment Professionals, recently profiled the five generations that exist in the workforce. Since knowing how to engage with all generations will set you apart from the competition, study the habits and preferences of generations other than your own.

The Bronco’s lesson on never giving up.
This Super Bowl marks the eighth appearance for the Denver Broncos. Of those trips to the championship game, the team has lost five times–the most of any NFL team. Despite their losses, the Broncos have not given up. Like the Broncos, you will face competition in your job search. And unfortunately, you may also face defeat. If you land an interview and do your best to prove you’re the right candidate for the job, but you don’t get hired, it’s easy to give up. But, you have to keep trying. When you’re faced with a stressful job search, remember to get back in the game and try again. Your next win may be just around the corner.

Ron Rivera’s lesson on mentorship.
The Panthers coach has been both a player and a leader in the NFL, and he didn’t get there alone. In fact, Rivera has been counseled by one of the game’s greatest coaches, NFL Hall of Fame member John Madden. According to Rivera, Madden’s mentorship style includes celebrating wins and being honest with his advice. If one of the league’s greatest coaches can benefit from a mentor, maybe you can too. In today’s digital age, mentoring is easier than ever before. And the benefits of building positive mentoring relationships can help with both your career and your personal goals.

Gary Kubiak’s lesson on improving your skills.
You may get knocked down in your job search or career, but it’s important to get back up and keep trying. Sometimes, you may even need to take a break and reassess your path. That’s what happened to Gary Kubiak, who took a year to reevaluate his strategy after it wasn’t leading to wins. To better his job performance, Kubiak recently completed an apprenticeship under John Harbaugh, a Super Bowl-winning coach. Apprenticeships and internships are great ways for you to gain hands-on experience in the field of your choice, improve your skills, and make important networking connections. Going back to school can also improve your chances of landing a job.

Peyton Manning’s lesson on teamwork.
There’s no doubt quarterbacks are natural leaders of their teams. But, it definitely takes the entire team to win a championship. In a recent interview, Peyton Manning highlighted the importance of teamwork when he said, “I haven’t led the team to the Super Bowl. Our defense has. I’m part of it.” Like Manning, recognizing your team’s input and efforts can help you win big on projects and goals. Even if you feel like you led your team to a win, it’s important to appreciate each contribution they made.

Michael Oher’s lesson on discipline.
If you watched The Blindside, you probably remember Michael Oher. He was the football player who grew up with a rough childhood before being adopted by a family whose past was unlike his. Oher attended 11 different schools during the first nine years of his education, moved from foster home to foster home, and had to repeat several grades. Now, he’s set to play in his second Super Bowl after winning a championship in 2013 when he was with the Baltimore Ravens. Oher’s determination to rise above his circumstances is a reminder of the importance of self-discipline and goal-setting. Like Oher, you too can overcome your obstacles. If you lack the skills you need for the job, learn them. If you lack experience, gain it. You have to remember not to give up.

What other lessons can we learn from this year’s Super Bowl teams? Let us know in the comments section below.

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

The Results Are In: Do You Have a Mentor?

what_to_expect_mentorship_webMentors are people who can help you in your career or personal growth. They can be of any age, profession, or education level. The ultimate goal of mentorships is to help you develop and succeed. Since they are so important, we wanted to know how many Movin’ On Up readers currently have a mentor.

Our poll revealed that the majority of respondents (52%) said they’ve never had a mentor. That means more than half of readers have missed out on the benefits of a mentoring relationship. Only 21% of respondents reported currently having a mentor, and 14% responded that they don’t have a mentor right now but have at one time.

Another 10% of respondents said they are a mentor, and 3% selected the “Other” option and added their own responses, including:

  • “I would love to have a mentor.”
  • “I’ve been looking for one for 30 years.”

For tips on mentorship and finding the right mentor for you, check out this article.

Do you have a mentor? Do you have tips for finding one? Let us know in the comments section below!

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

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.

Poll: Do You Have a Mentor?

Job Seeking and Career Advice PollMentors are people who can help you in your career, professional network, and personal growth. The Huffington Post defines mentorship as a “partnership where a ‘mentee’ is assigned to a more experienced ‘mentor,’ who passes on valuable aspects of their own accumulated experience and wisdom for the benefit of the mentee’s personal and professional development.”

In short, it’s an invaluable relationship. And mentors can be of any age, profession, or education level. Since mentorships are so important, we want to know what kind of mentor relationship you have. Let us know by voting in our poll!

Do you think mentorships are important? How do you benefit from your mentor? Let us know in the comments section below.

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