Finding the Leaders
Bob Sacks’ column, “Where Are Today’s Mentors,” got me thinking. Throughout my career I have been lucky enough to have several mentors. In one job, I even had three mentors all at once. And I’m lucky enough to still have a few now. I tried to think back: Did these mentors step into the role, or did I make them my mentors by my interest in learning and attaching myself to the brightest minds I could? I think it’s a little of both.
In order to be mentored, you really have to be eager to learn. And to be a mentor, you have to be willing to share your knowledge and experience, and give guidance to help develop someone else’s career.
If you think being a mentor is all sacrifice and no gain, however, you are wrong. By following Bob’s advice and becoming a mentor, we not only would be doing the industry a service, but if we mentor someone within our own companies, we benefit in other ways. Look at yourself as you moved up the career ladder; if you grew stagnant and were no longer learning, wasn’t it time to move on? If you let your staff grow stagnant, and don’t take the time to make sure they are developing their skills, taking on management roles, advancing career-wise and financially, you can bet you will lose them—the good ones, anyway.
Think about what it would take to help someone move up as close to your position as they can get, or as close to your level of knowledge and expertise as they can get. What would help them get there? Start teaching them.
And, in the meantime, if they’re motivated, they’ll be helping you by taking on more and more responsibilities, and as they grow, so will their impact on your publications.