When thinking about ways to advance in your career, naturally the spotlight falls on you. What can you do to position yourself for better career opportunities and job satisfaction? What steps can you take that will help you stand out above the rest?
It may seem counter-intuitive, but ask some of the most successful business people what’s been the most empowering and rewarding aspect of their career. It is very often about mentoring others. I’m referring to guiding others in an informal way, not necessarily through a formal mentorship (although that has great value, too).
We all have professional strengths. Maybe it’s an ability to master new apps at work with ease or speak eloquently in front of company executives. On their own, your strengths can help your career immensely. But shared with others, they add a dimension to your career that is immeasurable.
It doesn’t matter if you’re the department head or that person’s administrative assistant. Look for opportunities to advise others – maybe it’s a new hire, a colleague or someone else in the company who needs guidance. And you, too will reap the rewards.
I recently shared some of the benefits of mentoring others informally or formally with Psychology Today.
Here are some of the highlights:
- Reap personal rewards. When you see others succeed as a result of your advice or training, you’ll get greater satisfaction than some of your own personal successes. Work may have a new, meaningful twist once you start mentoring.
- Learn. You’re bound to get questions that stump you and that’s one of the great unexpected perks of guiding others: you’re learning at the same time you’re teaching. You may also find new ways of approaching tasks and quickly discover that “two heads are better than one.”
- Pick up leadership skills. Being a sounding board for ideas, sharing professional insights and motivating others gives you invaluable skills … ones that may be noticed by your boss.
- Gather emotional intelligence. It can be a tough balancing act when you need to be candid while showing empathy. How do you delicately explain that the spreadsheet you’re shown is in bad shape or that a person’s project goals are unrealistic? You’ll also learn when you just need to listen – which can be a real challenge when you have a lot of opinions (the right ones, of course!) and advice.
- Enhance self-esteem. Once you start guiding others, you may also discover you have more extensive expertise in certain areas than you ever believed. Mentoring can open your eyes to your capabilities in a way that never before existed.
Check out my full article in Psychology Today to learn more about how your most empowering career move can be mentoring.