Remember back to your first day on the job? You had so many questions, but you weren’t always sure who to ask. Whether it was learning where to store your lunch or coat, or finding your way around the office, you needed someone to steer you in the right direction.
Finding someone who will guide you around the office or in the industry will provide you with a resource when questions arise. A mentor is a person who will lead you and support you as you become familiar with the organization and your new role.
Most successful people attribute at least some of their accomplishments to their mentor’s influence. If you’ve never had this level of insight from a more seasoned colleague, then consider reaching out for a mentor now. Regardless of where you are in the company or industry, there will always be someone who has some wisdom to offer.
Why would you want or need a mentor? Consider the value someone could bring to your career as a coach or teacher.
For someone starting out, a mentor can help you adjust to the company’s culture. What clothing is appropriate to wear? How much autonomy do you have in making decisions? What level of risk is acceptable? A mentor can also help you identify people who are there to support you, such as the human resource manager or the janitorial staff.
A mentor will be available to respond to your questions and concerns, but more importantly, he or she will try to anticipate some of the challenges you will be facing and address them before you’ve been deterred.
Your mentor can help you set goals for both work and your personal growth. Then, this person can help you work toward these objectives and encourage you along the way. A mentor can also introduce you to people and resources who can assist you in your career.
For those of you who have been working in your chosen field or company for a while, a mentor can still be a professional asset for further advancement. In addition to motivating and encouraging you, a mentor can help you get back on track if you’re moving in the wrong direction. He or she can help identify areas where you might need help.
Finding someone who is willing to share his or her experiences to help you avoid mistakes is invaluable. Once you work with your advisor for any length of time, this person will help you by pointing out weaknesses and encouraging your strengths. You want your mentor to be up front with you and provide an honest assessment of your abilities. Your friends may not tell you that your public speaking skills are lacking, but a mentor will!
Companies who encourage mentorship have found a positive increase in both morale and engagement. This not only makes the mentee a happier employee, but it increases retention and boosts productivity.
If you haven’t established a mentoring program at your company, consider the benefits and create either an informal or a formal partnership by providing the resources for your employees. You can create a bulletin board type infrastructure where potential mentors can write a brief biography and allow a mentee to contact them for follow up. There are software programs available for this.
You can also provide an onsite opportunity for potential mentors and mentees to meet and find common ground before they make a formal commitment.
Women In Trucking Association has a mentorship match up service for our members on our website (http://mentorboard.careerwebsite.com/WIT). This service is for drivers, owner-operators, safety professionals, technicians, executives, and anyone willing to lead or who wishes to learn from another member.
“If you cannot see where you are going, ask someone who has been there before.” ― J Loren Norris, Author