Mentoring is important because you can learn from someone who has already been at where you want to be. They know exactly what it takes to get there and what sacrifices need to be made. There is significant difference between a person who knows what his or her path would be like and a person who does not. Having a mentor gives you the rare opportunity to see what your path would be like because a mentor will share his or her experience to help you achieving your goal in the best way they know.
People usually seek mentors based on shared outlook and connections to similar experiences. While shared background and experiences are important, they do not guarantee to find right mentors. In fact, shared interests and interpersonal compatibility are the keys to find a right mentor. Some people also find their mentors from different race, gender, or other characteristics.
Once you find your mentor, you need to develop a work plan that includes short- and long-term goals within reasonable timelines and discuss them with your mentor. Active interaction between you and your mentor is the key to maximize mentoring. At least once a quarter, you need to meet with your mentor and update your progress and any obstacles you have encountered. If needed, you should modify your timeline and work with your mentor to achieve your goals. When you work with your mentor, you need to seriously pay attention on the mentor’s feedback, expectations, or criticism. A good mentor should be able to provide constructive and supportive feedback that are helpful for your progress.
Leadership traits are generally vision, charisma, thinking, intellect, decisiveness, clarity, confidence, and action-orientation characterize leadership. However, the most significant trait for leaders is if they can drive results from a diverse set of people across geographies who may or may not have a direct reporting relationship with them.
Some required traits for leaders are self-awareness, understanding of others, seeking feedback, and cultural sensitivity. Leaders are self-aware and know themselves. Self-awareness plays a central role in a leader’s ability to articulate vision, form strategies, drive motivation and energize the team because it is a continuous and growing understanding of one’s strengths, weaknesses, emotions, moods, values, attitudes and personality traits. Leaders are also aware about others. Understanding of others is when a leader understands and plays by the strengths of people while complementing their weaknesses that they deliver exceptional results. Equipped with understanding of others, a leader can allocate talent better to ensure that strengths complement weaknesses. It also enables a leader to be empathetic in approach when dealing with others. Leaders seek feedback to understand how they are perceived and lastly, they are culturally sensitive. The leadership style nowadays is global and demands a high level of cultural awareness, sensitivity, and emotional intelligence.
Feedback in professional situations
Feedback is crucial for making workplace relationships more functional and productive. When a person gets feedback from others, the person can get more data that he/she didn’t have before, which can now make more informed choices.
Based on my personal experience, I think one of effective ways to give feedback is focusing on behavior. It is impossible to change someone into the person exactly that I want but it is possible to ask changing his or her behaviors. By changing behaviors, it motivates the person to move into a problem-solving conversation with me.
Another effective way is to be generous. Majority of people in professional situations behave with certain reasons. Even though someone’s behavior may look bizarre to you, he or she may have some reasons that you did not know so being generous is crucial to give feedback while maintaining friendly relationships. American culture is usually indirect, which means being generous is literally being nice and trying not to hurt feelings while delivering feedback. However, Erin Meyer said there is another way to give feedback in other cultures, which is direct feedback. In direct feedback culture like Germany and the Netherlands, people are very direct and it may sound rude and arrogant but that does not mean they really are. It is just their culture. It is their generous way to express feedback so that the person who receives feedback gets the intention of what they want.
The last effective way is practice. Without trying, making mistake, and learning from it, people usually do not get better. This can be interpreted in many ways. People can learn from feedback that they receive from others or the person who gives feedback can learn by giving it wrong. The wrong feedback I meant was like hurting someone’s feeling and it turned out to be worse than before giving the feedback. In either way, people still learn from mistake and by practicing more, their feedback become sharp and acute to truly develop functional relationships and productive.
“What a good mentor does.” University of Washington Graduate School, 2018, http://grad.uw.edu/for-students-and-post-docs/core-programs/mentoring/mentoring-guides-for-students/what-a-good-mentor-does/
Petersen, Deborah. “Carole Robin: Feedback is a Gift.” Stanford Graduate School of Business, 27 Nov. 2013, www.gsb.stanford.edu/insights/carole-robin-feedback-gift.
Vora, Tanmay. “Indispensable Traits of a Collaborative Leader: Part 3.” Qaspire, 12 May 2014, qaspire.com/2014/05/11/indispensable-traits-of-a-collaborative-leader-part-3/.
Meyer, Erin. “Giving Negative Feedback Across Cultures.” Insead Knowledge, 16 Sept. 2015, knowledge.insead.edu/blog/insead-blog/giving-negative-feedback-across-cultures-4259
“Why You Need A Mentor to be Successful.” Dan Gheesling, 2012, http://www.dangheesling.com/why-you-need-a-mentor/