Tag Archives: relationship

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.

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.

The Boss That Binds: Building Trust With Your Manager

Trustwithboss_Jan2012_webThere are many reasons you could start working with a new boss. You’ve started a new job, and you’re ready to serve your new supervisor. Or maybe a few years into your job, the management shifts and you have to start working for a new team leader. Whatever the reason, there may be a situation where you want to start building trust with a manager.

Unfortunately, trust isn’t earned overnight. Building trust is like growing a flower. It takes time and attention to grow properly, and needs to have strong roots to keep it from toppling over. If just starting out, it can be difficult to find a place to start or know what to do. Take a deep breath and take a look at these three helpful hints to build trust with your boss.

Under Promise and Over Deliver

Too often, new employees are very eager to impress their supervisors by taking on extra responsibilities and tasks in a shorter amount of time. While it does showcase your enthusiasm and drive, you could also set yourself up for failure. If you want your boss to see your strengths and talents in the long run, make obtainable goals for yourself and aim to accomplish more.

When you strive to finish your projects early, you have the opportunity to let your manager review your final product. This way, your boss will see that you are taking an active interest in your manager’s opinions and have the ambition to create better work quality.

Be Open, Honest, and Ready

Your boss may have different managing styles; some are more hands-on while others are more inclined to delegate and expect occasional updates. No matter how your boss works, you should try to match their style. Set up a schedule of updates for your active supervisor. If you have a more hands-off manager, have your accomplishments, plans, and ideas ready for when your boss wants an update. If you’re not sure, try a scheduled 30-minute meeting with your supervisor every week or every other week to make sure you are up to date with each other.

It’s also important to explain challenges or mistakes you’ve made. Mistakes happen and a good manager will understand and work with you to get the job done.  That kind of honesty can go a long way in building trust with your boss because you will be known for being honest when asking for feedback and opinions.

Go Beyond the Shift

Take some time to learn more about your boss on a casual basis. Learning more about your manager as a person can help develop a stronger rapport, which can help strengthen communication. By getting to know a manager on a more personal level, trust is built by connecting with their points of interest. Try going out to lunch a few times to get a glimpse of how your boss is outside of work and find out more about them. When the personal connection and trust has been built, ask for feedback during informal meetings. Developing relationships can create more trust with the relationship.

Building trust with your supervisor doesn’t have to be difficult, but it does take time and patience. Trust isn’t something that can be automatically granted. You have to earn it. If you follow these simple tips on how to build that trust, it can happen naturally, and you can become a better employee at the same time. What are some stories of how you and your boss have built trust?