At some point in your career, it may be worthwhile finding a like-minded mentor who can help you grow as a leader and potentially take your small business to the next level. Whether it’s someone who’s rising in the ranks in your own industry or a businessman or woman you simply admire, an effective mentor can be a priceless asset. Here are 7 qualities to keep an eye out for when you’re on the hunt for a promising mentor.
One of the key qualities of a fantastic mentor is the ability to lead. It is highly likely that leadership is an attribute that has helped your mentor succeed in their career so far. A good leader not only has the ability to see the talent around them, but is happy to contribute to the success of others. They’re not arrogant or self-absorbed, but are excited to share their knowledge and expertise.
Hand in hand with leadership, comes generosity. Find a mentor that is generous, not just with their knowledge and insight but with their time. Most successful leaders, entrepreneurs and business owners are extremely busy, so you will want to find someone who is willing to regularly spend time with you, despite their hectic schedule.
Having a relationship with a mentor is not just a business arrangement. This person needs to be someone who you connect with on a deeper level. While they don’t have to be a friend, you do need to be able to communicate with them and discuss your current struggles. If they aren’t approachable, you won’t be able to form a thriving mentor-mentee relationship.
On the other hand, you don’t want a mentor who only tells you what you want to hear. You need to find someone who speaks with honesty and clarity. Someone who isn’t afraid to tell you like it is, while also offering constructive feedback. It can be hard to see the gaps or flaws in your own business or leadership style, but an outsider looking in, could be a lifeline.
In addition to being generous and approachable, you need to seek a mentor who is kind. You’re giving them the opportunity to offer insight and wisdom into your situation and sometimes the truth can be hard to hear. While it’s important to find a mentor who speaks with honesty, a little kindness also goes a long way.
Whether it’s sensitive business information or personal stories shared in confidence, you need your mentor to be able to practice discretion. In order to get great advice from your mentor, you’ll need to feel comfortable in sharing details about you and your business – so you don’t want to team up with someone that can’t keep a secret!
A good mentor usually has a mentor. This is because even highly successful people, who may mentor others, understand that they, themselves, still need to be growing and learning. Keep your eyes peeled for someone who practices what they preach, and takes the time to invest in their own personal growth – not just the growth of others.