During one of my presentations at the 2020 National Pavement Expo in Nashville, the topic of mentors came up. After polling the audience members, I was surprised how many did not have a formal relationship with a mentor. Unfortunately, it is a commonly missed opportunity.
Mentors can provide leaders with advice, suggestions, different career perspectives, and/or business-building issues. A huge benefit: They share their experiences to help every leader grow.
If you don’t have a relationship with a mentor, set a goal to begin a formal relationship with one within the next 60 days. If you have a relationship but it isn’t working as well as you’d like, it’s time to fix or change it.
Most important, you want to receive value from time spent with your mentor.
What should you consider when establishing a relationship with a mentor? Here are my top three criteria:
- You must absolutely trust the mentor you select. Insist on honest feedback instead of having a mentor who tells you what you want to hear.
- Your mentor must have the time and interest to help you and be there for you when it’s needed.
- You must agree on working guidelines that fit for both of you and establish them at the beginning so you both know what to expect from each other.
If you have an existing relationship with a mentor, assess if you are fully satisfied. Are you getting everything you want/need from this person? If not, you’re missing a valuable opportunity.
If you don’t have a mentor and don’t believe you need one-that you’re doing fine without one-well, you’re kidding yourself. Everyone needs a mentor, even leaders.