Don’t go it alone, you don’t have to and you will
be better served if you develop allies and mentors.
This is true independent of organization type
(academic, government, industrial, entrepreneur),
organization size, and where you are in your career
(emerging, middle, or beyond).
A zeroth step seems logical but is often incompletely
done. Perform a self assessment to gain insight
into yourself and what makes you tick and
satisfied. What moves you to rise in the morning
and look forward to the day ahead.
Pamela Ryckman quotes R. Caruso that you should
“understand your values, passions and motivation
before asking someone to invest in you.”
Where do you know you need help? This
can start you thinking about strengths you are
seeking in a mentor. Are you seeking guidance
for how to change positions? Are you seeking
areas where you might apply your skills? What
should you do in a particular circumstance?
Should your mentor be an expert in a field, or
a seasoned well-groomed person, or a female
or one who seems to have good judgment.
Ryckman highlights four items
- articulate your aims and motivations and
how best to interact with your mentor(s)
- be alert to bias or limits in ideas and
communication revealing conflict of interest.
- make the interaction beneficial and
enjoyable for both parties
- understand the human realities that
can result– mentor offers nothing new,
mentor does not know answers, mentor
tells you something you did not want to
While the mentor - protege relations requires
good communication, it is important to realize
that it is a two way thoroughfare. There is an
awful lot the mentor can gain, besides a thank
The Ryckman article provides a couple of
alternative strategies for conducting a
mentoring arrangement and some helpful