Importance of Mentoring
It’s always good to have someone on your side!
Mentors are supportive, experienced, and trusted advisors who are looking out for your interests. A mentor can be a confidant, coach, teacher, instructor, or anyone in your life. Mentors have a variety of roles depending on the context; They may help with developing technical content, fostering communication skills, or consulting for career. Regardless of the task, a good mentor thinks about the mentees needs and interests while treating them with respect.
Mentors offer advice from their experience and collected knowledge. They can also use this information to train a mentee best practices, set goals, and achieve successes. A mentor is there to support and motivate a mentee when they reach a roadblock. A good mentor engages in conversation to clarify information. They give and receive supportive and constructive feedback while encouraging positive behavior. If a mentor cannot assist the mentee with a task, they will help build a network of other supportive people who can fill in the gaps.
How to find and work with a mentor
Finding a good mentor can be a difficult task! You need to be self aware and develop a vision of the mentoring needed. After you have established your needs, strengths, and weaknesses, searching for a mentor requires the mentee to be proactive and reach out to multiple mentors. Mentorship is a big responsibility so both parties must set responsible goals, meet often, and have open communications.
A few of my favorite mentors from my undergrad experience, Dr. Robert Thieke and Sophie Spratley
Leaders are always working to be better and help others around them be better. Good leaders have vision, intellect, decisiveness, confidence, and are self-aware. To be a positive leader, it is important to know strengths and weaknesses or yourself and others so you can allocate these skills to reach a goal. A leader understands the importance of feedback and diversity.
I learned so much from two of my favorite concrete canoe captains, Mary Sullivan and Danielle Kennedy.
How to provide feedback in professional situations
Giving and receiving feedback is important for growth because it provides a baseline for the skill; you can’t get better at something until you know what you are doing wrong. Feedback should be given in a timely manner and focuses constructive improvements. It is not possible to change a persons personality so good feedback should be positive, generous, and help a person's interests. Negative feedback should be properly balanced with positive feedback so people don’t feel put down. The best way to provide good feedback is to practice giving feedback so you feel comfortable, confident, and professional when speaking about concerns.