» Subscribe Today!
The Power of Information
Home
The Ledger - EST. 1978 - Nashville Edition
X
Skip Navigation LinksHome > Article
VOL. 35 | NO. 16 | Friday, April 22, 2011

Finding mentor can help career

Print | Front Page | Email this story

Getting promoted at any organization can be a challenging endeavor. Often it appears people who have continued to move up are receiving a helping hand. They often are – from a mentor.

Most people promoted have abilities recognized by management. But getting recognized by management is often the most difficult part of the promotion process. If your family doesn’t own the company, one of the best ways to become recognized is to have a manager at a higher level that supports and guides you through the organizational culture.

The Webster’s Encyclopedia of Dictionaries defines mentor as “an experienced and prudent advisor.” However, at work they are often much more.

They might be your friend or someone with a personal interest in your success. Ideally, your mentor should facilitate introductions to the right people, endorse your abilities when needed, and provide both day-to-day and long-term career guidance.

So, how do you find a mentor? There are two primary ways.

Sometimes they find you. There are people in management who look to help new employees or employees at lower levels. They tend to approach people they like and offer assistance. If you are receptive you may have yourself a mentor with little effort on your part.

Surprisingly, many people want to show others that they don’t need help, thus losing the opportunity. Don’t make that mistake.

Another way to find a mentor is to talk with managers and ask for advice. Find one that is receptive to taking the time to give you assistance. Try and develop a friendly and lasting relationship at work and possibly a social relationship outside. You don’t need to use the word mentor, just ask for insight.

Often managers have little time to talk about anything but business while at work, so you need to take the opportunity and go to lunch, hang around the break room during breaks or attend social events to meet your target mentor. If employees stop somewhere on the way home and the manager usually joins them, make sure you go as well and strike up a casual conversation with your target mentor.

A word of caution: Don’t become a pest. Be somewhat discreet. Make it casual and friendly so you both enjoy your exchange of ideas and conversation.

Remember that selecting a person to be your mentor is a two-way street. They have to want you and you have to want them in a long-term relationship comprised of mutual respect.

Picking your direct boss to be your mentor is not always your best move. In many instances, selecting a manager up the corporate ladder will prove more beneficial to you in the long run. Your direct boss may not have much latitude to promote employees. In fact, it may not be in his or her best interest to promote you.

Managers at the upper levels should have more power and influence to promote subordinates. You are also less likely to present a threat to him or her.

It also is possible to have more than one mentor, typically at different levels of management and with different expertise. This could prove very beneficial if one of them leaves for a different employer. The one staying would still help you where you are and the one that left may want you to come along. Options are always nice.

Having the right mentor or mentors during your career can prove very beneficial. Taking the time to find the right one and to nurture the relationship can open doors you never thought possible.

M.B. Owens is a Nashville-based columnist and journalist with a decade of experience writing on employment topics and business. He can be reached at mariusowens@aol.com.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter & RSS:
Sign-Up For Our FREE email edition
Get the news first with our free weekly email
Name
Email  
TNLedger.com Knoxville Editon
RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 0 0 0
MORTGAGES 0 0 0
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 0 0
BUILDING PERMITS 0 0 0
BANKRUPTCIES 0 0 0
BUSINESS LICENSES 0 0 0
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0