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How to Find a Mentor at Work

Dr. Nikki Martinez, Lead Contributor

There are many positive reasons to find a mentor at work. Maybe you are floundering in your job. Perhaps you just cannot seem to get past a certain hurdle.

You may be the type of person who works best with peer supervision. Or, you could be the person who gets their best ideas from brainstorming with someone who has been successful.

Maybe you just want to be the best you can be, and give yourself the chance for forward movement within the company.

There are a number of things to consider when looking for a mentor, and we are going to address them here. Having a good fit, being an enjoyable person, and meeting someone who possesses a vast array of skills is only part of the selection process.

Also, this selection process probably works two ways, as you are asking someone to take on extra work to help mentor you.

Don’t forget to also check out these inspiring mentor quotes for more guidance.

How to Find a Mentor at Work?

It is a very good idea to know your mentor, well if possible.

First, a stranger is going to be less likely to be open to mentoring someone. Second, you want to know the person’s work inside and out, so that you feel confident with the person you are choosing. Also, if you know them, you probably have a good sense of if they would be open to a mentor type of situation.

If you ask a stranger, the answer is almost always “no.” If you ask a respected colleague they are more likely to be flattered. They will also be more likely to believe in your motivations for wanting a mentor.

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Someone you know is also more likely to give you honest and practical advice. They will understand how you learn, and how to approach you, so you avoid a lot of the learning process when it comes to strangers getting to know each other.

Pick someone that you like as a mentor.

You are going to be spending a great deal of time with this person. So, it becomes essential that this is someone you enjoy being around. It will make both of you more open to the process, especially when it comes to feedback. The mentor will feel more able to be open with you, and the mentee will understand that feedback is coming from a good place.

Another reason to pick someone where there is mutual affection is that they will genuinely be invested in you doing well. There will not be a sense of competition holding them back. Instead, they want you to grow and thrive. Therefore, they are going to be helpful, open, and give you the tools that you need.

Remember that you are a part of the success of this relationship.

You cannot sit back and remain silent. Just observing and not getting involved will hinder the relationship. You want to be able to use your mentor for the skills that made them attractive to you in the first place.

Ask tons of questions, as long as you don’t feel like they are getting annoyed. Get in their head and try to understand their process. Ask if they can delegate small tasks to you. Then the two of you can review your work so that you can constantly be improving upon yourself.

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Be supportive of, not just your mentor’s success, but also the success of others. No one wants to work with someone who is bitter, and who cannot be happy for others.

A good mentor will want you to step back and see why these people are getting the accolades they are.

Question what skills they have that you could develop. If you are able to do this, it expands the skills the two of you can work on tremendously.

Lastly, ask yourself what you want from a mentor.

You likely have a very clear idea of what you want in a friend and a romantic partner. This could prove to be just as significant a relationship, and should also be given much consideration.

You spend a quarter of your life at work, and you have aspirations of a bright future for yourself. So, you don’t want to just pick someone who is enjoyable, you want to pick someone who possesses the professional qualities you are looking to emulate.

While one person may be more fun, they may not tick off all the boxes that you want and need. So, make sure you have a good balance between enjoyment and achievement.

The fact of the matter is, they likely have done so well because they possess such a good balance of those two qualities. People enjoy being around them, and they respect their work.

The bottom line is to put the word out, know what you are looking for, and be very actively involved in the process if someone is willing to take you on, as they are really trying to help you move forward.

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