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What Mentors Wish Their Mentees Knew

The mentor-mentee relationship is a tango between a more senior person and a junior one. Just as in dance, coordination and orchestration between parties is necessary for grace and success.

Like mentorship, menteeship requires specific behaviors. We here outline habits of ideal mentees.

Clarify what you need and choose wisely. Knowing what you need is the first step; finding the right person is the second. Like selecting a partner for marriage, your choice of a mentor affects 95% of your success. Begin by identifying highly successful individuals whom you like, respect and trust. Find a mentor whom you can relate to and who shares your goals and understands your priorities.

Underpromise and overdeliver. Ideal mentees are enthusiastic, energetic, organized, and focused. They embrace feedback while remaining honest and responsive. They always behave with integrity and recognize that hard work and sacrifice pays dividends down the road.

Mind your mentor’s time. As a mentee, give your mentor enough time to review work products. Define goals for meetings ahead of time by knowing what you want to discuss and accomplish during your meeting. Frame questions so that they can be answered with yes-or-no answers, while reserving longer concerns for face-to-face meetings.

Beware of pitfalls. Mentees must help their mentor guide them. “Mentorship malpractice” represents a set of mentor behaviors that — whether intentional or not — will disproportionately affect your success. Recognize the warning signs and know what countermeasures to employ.

Be engaged and energizing. The best mentees are energy donors, not energy recipients. Mentors are more likely to respond positively to a mentee who presents the upside to their efforts rather than the downside. Avoid excessive complaining about other people or a particular situation.

To read the full article from HBR click here.

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