The word "Mentor" originates from Greek Mythology. Mentor in The Odyssey was a character who was the trusted friend of Odysseus, the king of Ithaca in the epic tale by Homer. While Odysseus was away fighting at war, Mentor acted as a trusted counsellor and adviser to Telemachus, the son of Odysseus.
Being a Mentor involves a responsibility to build trust, listen to your mentee, encourage, be consistent and create a positive experience through a growing relationship.
A Real Life Mentor Experience
My Mentor; the Anti Stress Motivator
My first mentor, Natalia, was my manager at a previous job. I admired the manner in which she dealt with her work tasks as well as with her colleagues. In a fast paced work environment with demanding clients, it seemed that those who were the most stressed received the most praise. In reality, feeling stressed and rushing tasks leads to more making mistakes, losing time and an increased feeling of- you guessed it- stress!
Natalia taught me that being calm and focussed on each task led to the best results and saved time in the long run. Her positive attitude was always a hit with clients, proven by her track record of key clients asking to extend their contracts over and over again. She asked clients how they were doing, she showed an interest in them on a personal level and let them know that she was happy to be talking to them. She didn´t take their complaints personally, but she did make it her personal mission to find a solution.
From my mentor, I learned that while it was essential to be professional, this doesn´t mean not having fun at work. ´Most of our time is spent at work, we should try to enjoy it.´ During the week, we spend more hours at work with our colleagues that with our friends and family. It´s important to create a working environment that allows for healthy professional relationships based on respect, trust and appreciation.
Natalia believed in her team. She gave us more responsibility than was on our job descriptions. At first this responsibility was overwhelming. I felt nervous and doubted myself- what if I make a mistake? When Natalia said ´I believe in you´, it was our biggest motivation to achieve more.
There were times when things went wrong, I made mistakes and I had to take the responsibility. I learned how to pick up the pieces and put them together again. The moments when I made decisions and took control is when I grew the most, I gained more confidence in my abilities, identified my strengths and felt job satisfaction after finding a solution. There were times when everything went right too, and these achievements have a proud place on my professional portfolio.
I was able to talk openly and honestly to Natalia. I appreciated her feedback whether it was positive or not, having someone who was there to listen with my interests in mind was encouraging. The benefit of our manager taking time to talk with us on a regular basis, made us feel valued and useful. Is there anything more motivating in the work place?