5 tips to be a better mentor
Many people have asked me what one thing has made a difference in my career and what can they do to help their careers. The answer is always the same; I was fortunate to have a couple of great mentors to lead me through political landmines, point me in the right direction and provide helpful hints to keep me on track. I was reminded of this last week at the ISM Conference when I met the 2016 R. Gene Richter Scholarship Program recipients. I’ve been fortunate to meet every Scholar since 2004 and see the Scholars and their mentors grow from their mentor/mentee relationships.
Like many who are fortunate to have great mentors, I have also developed mentoring skills over the years. Through paying it forward by mentoring, plus building and delivering training for over 10,000 students, I’m very proud to have played a part for those who have gone on to fill executive procurement and supply chain positions in some very large organizations.
To be a good mentor, it is really important that you feel a need to give back and that you are willing to make yourself available to the mentee. It goes without saying that the mentee must be someone worthy of the guidance and direction and someone who will carefully consider the message and value that you bring to the table. It’s important that mentees realize that they must make their own way in the world with the advantage of having a sounding board and someone to help them understand the political and market dynamics.
Mentoring is not for everyone, but, if you want to give back, here are some tips:
- Be positive in attitude and keep things in perspective. It’s important that the mentor keep the big picture in mind for the mentee. Sometimes the complexities of business keep our orientation tactical, so remember to step back for the broader view.
- Pick a few mentees. It’s easy to get caught up in the process, but it takes time, energy and planning. Be sure your mentee will respect your time and is worthy of it.
- Set out some rules and expectations at the onset of the relationship.
- If you make a commitment, stick to it.
- Be open, listen and don’t over commit.
Mentoring has been a rewarding and meaningful experience and I would encourage everyone to try it. These 5 tips will help you keep the process going and assure success.
Who mentored you?