Mentors teach you about both the company and the industry, give you advice about job functions, and help you network with important people. All of these benefits of mentoring go towards furthering your development and advancing your career.
Business mentoring gives you an inside look into the company without the fear of looking stupid or doing something stupid. The questions you ask don’t even have to be directly associated with the job. The mentor usually has been working for a while so they could be the perfect people to bounce random questions off of, such as questions about the companies’ benefits (e.g. dental insurance). Ideally, all of your questions and interactions should be kept between you and your mentor. That’s why it’s important that you find a mentor that you trust so that you know exactly what to do after college.
What’s a good strategy for finding a mentor?
I learned about the DISC method in one of my business psychology classes 5 years ago. I knew that it would be important to find a mentor while I was trying to deal with my student credit card. DISC was developed by John Geier and stands for:
- Dominance – relating to control, power and assertiveness.
- Influence – relating to social situations and communication.
- Steadiness (submission in Marston’s time)- relating to patience, persistence, and thoughtfulness.
- Conscientiousness (or caution, compliance in Marston’s time) – relating to structure and organization.
If your company doesn’t offer mentoring jobs then you won’t be able to appreciate the benefits of mentoring. At this point you need to find your own mentor. By performing a DISC assessment you can find a mentor that complements you in order to create a mutually beneficial relationship.
If your company has a formal mentorship program, you are “stuck” with whomever they choose. But the DISC assessment still has a useful purpose. By understanding each other’s communication styles, strengths and limitations, your relationship can be tailored to ensure the interactions are positive and beneficial.
How to use this business mentoring thinking.
In order to do a DISC assessment on your mentor (or potential mentor) you need to know what each of those traits means.
- For someone who scores high in intensity for Dominance, they usually attack problems head on. They are demanding, strong willed, determined, and aggressive. People who score low are usually chronic researchers who need to cover all of their bases before committing to a decision. They are cooperative, calculating, cautious, and modest.
- For people high in intensity for Influence, they often influence others by using emotional appeals and talking through the process. They are convincing, enthusiastic, trusting, and optimistic. For someone who scores low, they typically fall back on data and facts in order to convince people. They are usually reflective, logical, matter of fact, and once again, calculating.
- For people high in intensity for Steadiness, they prefer the security of a steady environment. They do not like dynamic environments. They are usually relaxed, patient, predictable, deliberate, and consistent. For people low in intensity, they thrive in dynamic environments. They embrace change and are often restless, impatient, eager, and impulsive.
- For people high in intensity for Conscientious, they adhere to structure. They are the ones who are following the rule book to the “t.” They prefer doing work well from the start as they are cautious, neat, systematic, diplomatic, and tactful. For people low in intensity, challenge rules and are very independent in nature. They are self-willed, stubborn, opinionated, and sometimes careless.
Applying this mentoring advice.
When you get into your job and need to look for a mentor, think back to this DISC assessment. The relation between you and your mentor can make or break your first few months. Whether you become a rising star or an average employee can have a lot to do with what you take out of a relationship with a mentor. After a few months the relationship usually develops into a mutually beneficial one instead of a one-sided one.
Knowing that your mentor is very low in intensity for “dominance” can tell you a lot about how the transfer of information will occur. You may find yourself prying their knowledge out a little more since they are so modest and cautious. Someone who is high in intensity for “steadiness” may not be the best fit for you if you are the complete opposite. While they are doing everything to the “t” you will be bored and wishing you could be in a more dynamic environment.
I did a quick assessment when I was looking for a mentor and I feel it helped me out a ton. It doesn’t have to be an extensive assessment. After realizing my mentor and I are aligned very similarly I realized he would transfer knowledge to me very effectively.
Now it’s up to you to decide if you want to find a mentor. The good news is that your mentor can help you grow your career and make it easier to decide if you should buy or rent a home in your 20s.
This was a guest post from MLR @ MyLifeROI.