By Spencer Maddox 5/30/17
Finding a mentor, providing and receiving feedback, and developing leadership traits are all critical for success at Tech and in your career. Leadership traits and feedback are especially important for group projects. Without leadership, and effective feedback, group projects can turn into a major headache.
Developing mentor relationships are something I've struggled with so far at Tech. I understand the importance such as providing feedback, clearing up confusion about school, listening to students concerns, helping them manage jobs and transition into the real world amongst many other items. All of these items would benefit me and students in general greatly, yet I've struggled finding and working with a mentor.
For me, I'm going into my third year at Georgia Tech and would like to find a mentor before it is too late. At the beginning of the spring semester, I told myself I would begin to seek out and develop mentor relationships, but I put it off either out of stubbornness or laziness. To find a mentor, I need to be proactive; I cannot just sit in class and take notes. I need to approach them during their office hours. I also need to figure out what I need help with, so I can ask for specific guidance. Developing a good relationship with a mentor, takes time and commitment. I will be better about putting in the time to developing these relationships in the future, and I will also be sure to make my self visible.
Leadership is critical in group projects. For individual projects, you hold your own responsibility, but in a group setting this is not the case. To ensure group projects are not immense headaches, leadership traits must be developed. Important leadership traits include communicating and connecting effectively, using forums for collaboration, and sharing information. Applying these to our corridor projects, shared files can be used for Autocad, times can be set up for meetings, and lists of ideas and goals can be made and shared. It will also be critical to provide feedback throughout the project.
To provide feedback in professional situations, first the culture of the person you are providing feedback to. Some cultures may want direct criticism (Dutch) and other cultures may want indirect feedback (British). The best time to provide feedback is early on, so the person can correct their mistake or behavior quickly. Avoid being rude about the feedback as well. It is unlikely the person intentionally made the mistake.