mentoring | career advice | professional development |leadership
By Anthony K. Tjan | February 27, 2017
Harvard Business Review
Mentorship comes in many flavors. It doesn’t always work unless leaders bear in mind a few common principles.
Over the past three years, as part of my forthcoming book, I’ve been researching how leaders can better judge and develop their talent in light of a changing, more purpose-driven, more tech-enabled work environment. Having interviewed close to 100 of the most admired leaders across business, culture, arts, and government, one important characteristic stands out: They do everything they can to imprint their “goodness” onto others in ways that make others feel like fuller versions of themselves. Put another way, the best leaders practice a form of leadership that is less about creating followers and more about creating other leaders. How do they do that? I’ve noticed four things the best mentors do:
Put the relationship before the mentorship. All too often, mentorship can evolve into a “check the box” procedure instead of something authentic and relationship-based. For real mentorship to succeed, there needs to be a baseline chemistry between a mentor and a mentee. Studies show that even the best-designed mentoring programs are no substitute for a genuine, intercollegial relationship between mentor and mentee. One piece of research, conducted by Belle Rose Ragins, a mentoring expert and professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, demonstrated that unless mentees have a basic relationship with their mentors, there is no discernable difference between mentees and those not mentored. All this is to say that mentoring requires rapport. At best, it propels people to break from their formal roles and titles (boss versus employee) and find common ground as people. Read more…
We live in a world of constant change, where skill sets can become obsolete in just a few years, you have consistently upgrade and reinvent yourself.
“Skill is the unified force of experience, intellect and passion in their operation.”
John Ruskin could not have defined skill any better.
When you strive to consistently improve your skills, you enjoy more success in life and at work.
Don’t give up on lifelong learning. Ever.
Research shows that it pays beyond the skills you acquire.
More than ever before, a challenged, stimulated brain may well be the key to a vibrant later life.
“Every skill you acquire doubles your odds of success,” says Scott Adams
Start spending time preparing for the future even when there are more important things to do in the present and even when there is no immediately apparent return to your efforts.
Begin to plant seeds every day that will yield the best and most fulfilling life now and in the future.
These valuable skills can radically improve your life. They may not seem earth shattering at first glance, but you’ll be surprised at just how much they can affect your life and career now and for the rest of your productive life.
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“We’re like family here.”
It’s a line that seems enshrined in the collective unconsciousness of American workers. We spend more than 2,000 hours per year with our co-workers, so it seems only natural that we should think of them as family. We celebrate birthdays together, honor anniversaries, hang out at happy hours … these people are like a second family. Right?
There’s a famous story of Edwin C. Barnes, who in 1905 had no money or expertise. However, he was an ardent fan of the inventor, Thomas Edison.
Barnes wanted to become business partners with Edison. He knew that if he became partners with Edison, there would be no limits on what he could accomplish. He took a freight train to New Jersey and walked straight to the Edison Laboratory.
He was wearing musty and scrappy clothes and told Edison he wanted to go into business with him. Edison was impressed by the boldness and made Barnes a floor sweeper. Read more…
“Tell me about your career goals.” How often have you said this to a person you’re managing or mentoring, only to get a blank stare in return? Perhaps the person confides that they don’t know what their goals should be, or even whether there are opportunities to advance at your company. How do you begin to provide support?
Career dissatisfaction is a growing challenge in today’s world, which is why we’ve decided to do things differently at Weight Watchers, with the help of LifeLabs Learning. The results of CEB’s 2015 employee survey capture the problem well: 70% of employees surveyed (across many industries) reported being dissatisfied with career opportunities at their company — a disturbing figure given that it is one of the biggest drivers of engagement and retention. At the same time, 75% of organizations said they expected to face a shortage of necessary skills and knowledge among their employees. So, on the one hand, employees feel they can’t advance fast enough, and on the other, companies believe employees are growing too slowly. How can such a blatant and dangerous contradiction exist? And what can we do about it? Read more…