It’s funny when you look back on how you used to work and conduct yourself a few years ago and compare it to now. I often look back and think, “Wow. What was I playing at?”
This got me wondering. Why is that? What made the difference? For me, it was something I value massively. Mentorship. I’ve been fortunate to be mentored by some awesome people inside and outside of recruitment, and still am. Recently stepping into a mentorship role myself has thrown plenty of challenges, but when I think back to the mentors I’ve learnt from and respected the most, they have some common traits.
“You must unlearn what you have learned” - Yoda. It’s easy to take for granted all those tips, tricks and lessons you’ve learned. It’s even harder to get in the mindset of not knowing what you now know. But think back to those moments you were completely baffled by a situation and couldn’t see a solution. Then remember that light bulb moment where a piece of advice was given to you, and it suddenly all made sense. That’s the impact good mentorship can have every day.
They see more in you than you see in yourself. The best mentors tap into that individual quality that everyone has and get you firing on all cylinders. They make you play to your strengths and then they stretch your thinking and help you achieve things you never thought you could. All the while making you feel like you did it yourself or you could always do it.
They adapt their style. Delivering the message is one thing. But delivering it in a way that resonates with the individual is the game changer. The cookie cutter approach to mentorship can only get you so far. If you treat everyone the same you will either end up with a team of clones, or your message won’t stick. It takes time to understand things like; is the individual decisive or methodical? Do they love a spreadsheet or thrive in organised chaos? There is no right or wrong here, just different.
Finally, and most importantly. They keep learning. The moment you think you know it all, the game’s lost. “Everyone is still learning, even your Director”. I remember the day one of my mentors said that to me, and it’s stuck ever since. Every day is an opportunity to learn and improve, which gives you more experience to help people you’re mentoring reach their potential.