Having a strong, supportive group of mentors can be one of the most important things to leading a successful career, regardless of your field. Notice how I said “mentors” and not mentor. It is easy to fall into the mindset that you only need a singular mentor, but in reality having multiple mentors who are diverse in personality, expertise, and experience can be significantly more helpful. In my opinion and based on some of the readings we had to do this week, the best way to find and work with mentors is to find people that you have a common interest with. A common interest makes initial conversation and interaction with a potential mentor easier and can help you connect with the person. The common interest does not necessarily need to be the same for each mentor, hence helping to foster a diverse group. I also think that a mentor-mentee relationship is a two-way street. As someone who is, for the most part, on the mentee side of said relationships, I try make sure that my mentors are able to see the value that they bring to me and that their time and effort spent mentoring me is not a waste.
In terms of leadership, the thing that kept sticking out to me in the reading was the importance of knowing yourself. Being knowledgeable about the person that you are and therefore being knowledgeable about your strengths and weakness, is in my opinion invaluable in being a good leader. By knowing yourself you are better able to harness those strengths and utilize your team to make sure your weaknesses don’t create issues. You are better able to know how to approach different members of the team given your knowledge of yourself, as well as, your knowledge of the other person.
Feedback is another area within both mentorship and leadership that is indispensable to success. Being able to both receive feedback as a mentee and give feedback as a leader are skills that everyone should strive to learn. As a mentee, feedback is one of the most helpful things that a mentor can do for you in my opinion. Feedback helps to identify areas where personal improvement are needed as well as existing areas of strength, As a leader or as a mentor, giving feedback is equally important but only if it is done in a professional and constructive manner. To give the most constructive feedback, you must be aware of an individual's personality and cultural background around feedback. Being sensitive to both culture and personality can help to ensure that the feedback is taken constructively and is taken in by the individual as opposed to being rejected. In my personal experience, finding the best way to give feedback to different people can take time and its possible to mess up when initially giving feedback, but as long as you recognize where you messed up and alter how you go forward it is still possible to be successful.