Guiding Light: The Role of Mentorship
Having a mentor is not just about career success, it’s also about having emotional and mental support at work.
Some people are lucky. Lucky to have found their purpose in life early on. To know what they want to do for the rest of their lives. For most of us, however, the right guidance — at the right time — from our parents, teachers, or friends is crucial to identify and choose our career and life paths. These mentors teach and nurture our development, help us find our purpose in life, and encourage us to see that despite failures, our best life is still ahead of us.
A mentor can come across in any form. Our parents are often our first mentors, followed by teachers, friends, colleagues, who take us under their wing and guide us. Sometimes even competitors at the workplace can help us realize what is valuable to us and worth our commitment. The key is to be able to identify who can help you grow in your journey of life and build a long-term synergistic relationship with them.
Your inner voice: The life compass
We all have this little voice inside our heads that nudges us when we procrastinate at work, or whispers words of caution as we hurtle down uncertain paths in life. Think about that voice for a second. Listen to it carefully. Whose voice is it, really? Chances are you’ll recognize the voice of your schoolteacher who made you fall in love with your favorite subject, or the voice of your parent or relative who comforted you during a moment of pain or fear. Like all good mentors, they taught you how to find value in the activities and goals you choose, and how you can commit yourself to it from start to finish. For each person, it is a different voice that steers them. This is our own personal guiding light that you must cherish and allow you to course correct through the years.
Mentorship at the workplace
I’ve been through a rollercoaster entrepreneurial journey — starting my healthcare data technology company Edifecs on my credit cards, being on the verge of bankruptcy, to pulling Edifecs together as a combined, singular team and achieving unicorn status. This was all possible thanks to my team. I was also able to insert the whole wellbeing paradigm into the company with their help. I didn’t create Edifecs for the money or the label of creating a unicorn; I did it because I believed in the cause, and in my team.
Employees are only ever as inspired as the people around them are inspiring. And it is no surprise that nine out of 10 employees who have a career mentor are happy at their jobs.
Organizations also benefit from happy employees as it means less attrition and higher productivity. A holacratic style of management helps build synergy and foster mentorship in the workplace; this is vital to team-building because it enhances camaraderie between employees from different age groups and emphasizes positive professional development. I believe one must hire a mix of experienced and young professionals who are eager to learn from their peers, benefit from industry knowledge and expert guidance, and share their learnings as well.
A study has shown that a mentoring relationship can also provide emotional support to the protégé. A mentor may listen and offer advice during times of stress or provide counseling on personal or job-related issues, helping improve the mental and emotional wellbeing of the protege.
Learning from your mentees
Learning is never a one-way street. In my own capacity as a team leader, I seek to mentor talent and ideas through conversations and creative projects, encouraging colleagues to use not only their technical expertise, but also their imagination to find solutions and overcome challenges. We are constantly learning from our peers; and younger colleagues offer us a new perspective. There is always a need for new opinions, energy, and understanding in a team. Fostering this open and progressive work environment where people feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and finding their voice is essential for a company’s growth. At RoundGlass, we encourage mindful listening to create a safe, transparent, and solution-oriented work environment.
Having guidance and mentorship in your life is not just about career success, it also makes you appreciate the kindness, love, and empathy people have for each other. It is an extension of a friendship. Luck may nor may not pave your way to success, but with the right peers, you will always find your destination.