How to get the most out of a mentor

There is no best type of leader – just people to adapt to

While you may naturally be drawn to one style, you can learn from any of the defined types. The key is to be open-minded and responsive to your boss’s style.

For example, a definitive leader might inspire you to become more efficient, while a collaborative one may teach you to take others’ opinions and viewpoints into account. Similarly, a persuasive leader may challenge you to become more creative, and a diagnostic leader might just push you to be more thorough and focused.

Although most managers can offer some form of leadership to employees, occasionally there are some with poor intentions or an inability to impart wisdom. If your manager isn’t a capable leader, try looking for another mentor to help guide your career. Perhaps a more senior colleague or another professional contact would be willing to help you. The important thing is to find someone who can give advice and inspire you to achieve your goals.

These tips will help you get the most from your mentor:

Create a game plan
To determine how best to help you, your manager needs to know what you want to accomplish. If you’re not sure yourself, ask your manager for advice to help you clarify your goals.

Consult the rulebook
Don’t hesitate to ask your manager’s advice about navigating sensitive or political situations. Your manager is a storehouse of professional knowledge, wisdom and expertise can be invaluable when you’re facing challenges.

Huddle prior to the game
Before a big meeting or presentation, make sure you ask your for advice. These “meetings before the meeting” can often be a chance to pick up last-minute tips that lead to the winning outcome you want.

Put your game face on
At times, your manager may give you constructive criticism. Rather than becoming defensive or resistant, be open to your manager’s observations about your strengths and weaknesses, and be willing to take the necessary corrective steps that they recommend.

Show up for practice
Complete any mentoring assignments your manager gives you, and come to meetings prepared to work. Respect your manager and remain professional.

Leave your ego at the door
If you disagree with your manager, avoid getting into a direct conflict. Instead, politely ask them to explain the rationale behind a particular piece of advice. Through the resulting conversation, you and your manager can come to an alternative agreement.

Acknowledge your manager
Regularly show how much you appreciate your manager’s interest in your professional development.

Help train new joiners
As you move up in your career and become a more seasoned professional, remember the debt you owe your manager. Repay it by offering a hand to new professionals in your office. Help with less-experienced teammates and pass on the valuable advice and wisdom you’ve gained. This will show your mentor that you understand what being a winner really means.

Follow the above advice and you’ll be sure to have a good working relationship whatever style of leadership your manager adopts.

Share This Page