Having a mentor at work is one of the most important aspects of becoming successful. A mentor teaches, provides an experienced perspective on the work, and can help you lean into your strengths. They are someone to lean on and ask questions without worrying about how they might perceive you. Keep reading to find out what we suggest you look for as the best qualities of a good mentor. 

1. Knowledgeable

Having a mentor is really helpful when they have information and expertise that you wouldn’t have access to. If they can speak from experience and shed light on our various challenges from a neutral perspective, that can help you understand what success looks like in new ways.  

2. Good listener

Great mentors act as much as sounding boards as sources of sound advice. No one has the full understanding of your job or career situation that you have. But a great mentor is someone who can listen actively to understand the context and then ask the right questions to help you make the decisions that will best impact your career.  

3. Nonjudgmental

Working with a mentor who you think will judge you for your decisions or perspectives is not a helpful activity. Mentors are not supervisors. They are guides. They can help you forge the path that you want to create and support your decisions along the way.  

4. Able to give constructive feedback

Feedback is a gift, but great feedback that is constructive and not critical is rare to come by. A mentor is someone who should be able to provide gentle guidance and feedback to help you improve. If that’s not a skillset of the person you are considering, they probably won’t be a good fit for your mentor.  

5. Honest and candid

Equally important to the ability to be constructive in providing feedback is the need for a mentor to be open and honest with their mentee. If a professional is looking for guidance, false statements or confusing perspectives will rarely help push a career forward. Make sure the person you are considering for your mentor is consistent in their ability to be honest, and candid with you.  

6. Able to network and find resources

The mentor-mentee relationship thrives on the value of networking. To have a mentor is to access an expanded network of professionals who may provide opportunities or learnings that can further your career in meaningful ways. Make sure your mentor’s network is relevant to your professional goals. 

7. Committed

A good mentor is someone who you can connect with. A great mentor is someone who finds value in connecting with you as well. The commitment of a mentor can make all the difference in your career.  

8. Advocacy

The primary value of a mentor can be advice, but if they are able to advocate for you, that will put you into the next stage of your career. Advocacy looks like sponsorship and putting you forward for opportunities that may not find their way to you on their own. This is critical to getting ahead in your career.  

9. Successful

A mentor who is not in a position of success might not have the influence or experience that is most helpful in your efforts to build your career.  

10. Flexible

Having a mentor who is flexible in their availability, in their approach, and in their mindset can be very helpful. Anyone who is so set in their ways that they can only advocate for one way to do things will provide too limited a view to being helpful given the variety of paths to career success. Look for someone willing to learn as much as teachers so that you can grow together.  

For more advice on building a career, you can be proud of, connect with the team at Williams Industrial today.

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