Why I’m Mad About Mentors
And when I say “mad,” I mean wildly enthusiastic. When I first stumbled into this business, I was barely an adult; a wide-eyed rookie just trying to find my way. Enter Terry Ray, President of New Benefits and my incredible mentor. Terry was gracious enough to take me under her wing, show me the ropes and offer me guidance, feedback and most importantly, support. She was able to see more in me than I saw in myself at the time—and I am forever grateful to her for that.
A Special Relationship
Now I want to be clear: When I say Terry took me under her wing, I’m not implying this relationship was not always rainbows and butterflies. It was work. For years, Terry would spend countless hours revising emails, personal memos and other professional documents I composed, helping to sharpen my writing skills and make me a more effective, well-rounded communicator.
Along with the writing advice, she also taught me proper meeting etiquette. I’m talking about everything from providing just the right amount of eye contact to independently chairing a meeting. Nothing was off limits when it came to my personal growth. It was the perfect mixture of tough love, honesty and a mutual desire for growth.
The mentor/mentee relationship is a special one—and it’s not entirely painless. It involves working outside your comfort zone, providing difficult feedback, accepting difficult feedback, and taking on more than what’s required. It’s a sacrifice for both the mentor and the mentee, but I believe it’s a sacrifice worth making.
Spreading the Love
Thanks to Terry, I’ve become extremely passionate about the importance of mentors in our industry—and in any profession for that matter. I can’t emphasize enough how much impact a true leader can have on an employee who genuinely wants to grow and thrive. If you think about it, mentoring others is just another way you can invest in your company’s future.
And if you needed another reason to consider mentoring, a study published in Journal of Vocational Behavior stated professionals who served as mentors within their workplace reported greater job satisfaction and commitment to the organization as compared to those who didn’t mentor.
Hopefully you’re starting to see a trend here. Find a mentor. Be a mentor. You’ll win either way. Much like a coach, a true mentor can have permanent impact on a person’s life and career. If you develop a relationship with a leader who is committed to being your mentor, embrace the opportunity with gusto.
– Dulce Bozeman, EVP
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