Ross Perot, Andy Grove, Kobun Chino Otogowa, Regis McKenna… what do all these names have in common? They were all mentors to Steve Jobs. Jobs knew that having the support of a network of seasoned individuals was instrumental in growing his business. In fact, Otogowa is credited with advising Jobs to start Apple rather than become a Zen monk. Without the advice and support from strong mentors, Apple may have looked very different.
I’m a firm believer in the power of many. No one got where they are today without a little support, advice or influence. Naturally we crave the feedback of others; it is how we grow and get better. The same holds true for businesses. Think of it like this, a company is like a seed and in order for it to grow it needs nourishment in the form of knowledge and ideas. Once received, it will bloom and eventually pollenate success for years to come. Where can you find this knowledge and ideas? I’ll let you in on a little secret… your company mentors.
Mentors are a company’s greatest resource when it comes to developing its employees. Their experience acts as the business handbook for new hires, demonstrating expectations, advising them and helping build brand ambassadors that will add value to the company.
A good mentor is contingent on the person’s willingness to do what it takes to help a mentee become successful. Good mentor-mentee relationships are a two way street, consequently, if you want a successful mentorship, start by finding a good mentor.
All the right qualities
A good mentor comes in many different packages, but these are 5 qualities the best ones have:
- Is a teacher first.
Good mentors remember what it was like first starting out in the field. They meet mentees where they are and help develop them into expert professionals by sharing skills, knowledge and expertise.
- Values ongoing learning.
Successful mentor-mentee relationships take time. Good mentors are committed to helping their mentees find opportunities in their failures (because these will happen) and be there to celebrate in their successes. Mentors are in a position to illustrate how the field is constantly changing and emphasize the importance of continual education.
- Practices what they preach.
Good mentors talk the talk and walk the walk. They continually choose to brush up their professional acumen by attending classes, workshops and professional conferences.
- Has good rapport with colleagues at all levels.
Mentees look up to mentors and envision themselves in their shoes one day. They want to follow someone who is well respected by others and whose contributions are appreciated.
- Sets the precedence for others.
A good mentor continually sets a good example for others which is reflected by his/her ability to meet and exceed personal and professional goals.
Consider starting a mentorship program for your organization. Not sure where to start? Stick around to find out the 4 Significant Steps to Make the Most of Your Mentorship Program.