Creative LMent

I believe that creativity is a powerful skill that can be practiced and developed. I hope my blog inspires you to find your very own "creative lment". ~LM

Honouring Your Mentor

Did you know that January 25, 2011 is National Thank Your Mentor Day? It’s a day where those of us who are lucky enough to have a mentor, show appreciation for their support, direction and leadership.

While not every organization offers up a formal mentorship program, there are still many opportunities to develop a mentorship relationship with someone you admire in the workplace.  In fact, you may already find yourself in an “informal” mentorship relationship right now.  Whether it is a supervisor, colleague or coworker – this is the person you find yourself gravitating to when you need career advice or a different perspective.  These are usually non-judgmental types who enjoy developing those around them and are keen to listen  to your problems.  They often embody the very leadership characteristics you want to develop yourself.  In an organization, these people are true leaders, managing not only their day-to-day jobs but also helping others find their path.  And remember with mentorship – it does not necessarily have to be a workplace relationship.  Outside work activities are an excellent way to link to other leaders in your community!

Once you decide a relationship is desired or already exists, you then need to determine whether or not you want things to be formal or informal – and this is a matter of preference.  If you already have someone in your life who fits the above description, you may already have a mentor.   Your relationship does not need to be formalized or labeled in anyway if it is meeting both parties needs.  However, if you are seeking regular guidance, especially from someone from within your senior organization or extra curricular circle, then you may want to consider a more formal approach.  Formalization can include the scheduling of regular meetings, the definition of shared objectives and the setting of time lines.  This formalization allows both parties to manage their time more effectively – while meeting everyone’s goals.

At the end of the day, mentorship benefits everyone!  The organization wins due to increased leadership development, knowledge transfer and employee support.  The mentee wins with increased knowledge, new perspectives and improved problem solving techniques.  And the mentor wins – the gratification of helping others, adding long term value to the organization for which they work, and coaching experience are great benefits for any professional!

So, if you are lucky enough to recognize a mentorship relationship in your life, to whatever degree – how will you chose to honour them?  Some prefer private appreciation while some like public recognition, so think about your mentor and their personality.  To help, I’ve included a few ideas below!

Personal Recognition

  • Thank you card
  • A personal gift related to their favourite past-time
  • Coffee or lunch out
  • Have flowers or a fruit basket delivered to their office

Public Recognition

  • Write a newsletter article or blog entry
  • Donate to their favorite charity (in their name)
  • Nominate them for an award in your organization

Mirror Their Leadership

  • Be a  mentor
  • Create a mentorship program in your organization
  • Informally help link new or young employees to more senior staff & tell them about the benefits of mentorship

I want to take this opportunity to personally reach out to my mentor, Donna Hendy.  Donna works hard everyday within her role with the Nova Scotia government to make a positive difference.   When I think of Donna I think of a caring professional and strong female role model.   She personifies leadership in action and I am grateful that she entered into my life so many years ago.  Thanks for everything Donna!  ~LM


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