Embarking on a new role can be both exciting and daunting.
I know it was for me when I took on a leadership role six months ago.
I almost fantasized to learn from every experienced leader around me who have reached the highest levels in the leadership universe.
However, I discovered that seeking mentorship from highly experienced managers was a different world altogether, for no fault of theirs.
Their schedules were jam-packed, and their perspectives seemed detached from my day-to-day challenges. And this led me to reevaluate my approach and consider mentors who were closer in proximity to my role.
It struck me like a thunderbolt— Closer is Clearer.
By shifting my focus to those who had recently been promoted or successfully transitioned to the assistant manager position, I found mentors who were intimately familiar with the intricacies and demands of my current role.
Their insights were practical, relevant, and tailored to the specific circumstances I faced.
In fact, this is when my brain realized the power of shared experiences.
One mentor, whom I will refer to as ‘A’, became my trusted guide. Having made the leap from a specialist position (Individual Contributor) to an assistant manager (People Leader), she had navigated a similar path to the one I was on.
Our regular conversations over lunch or coffee was a comfortable gateway for exchanging experiences, discussing strategies, and exploring new ideas.
I found solace in her relatability and fresh perspectives.
Connecting with a mentor like her, who is just a few steps ahead, allowed me to tap into practical tips and relevant advice that directly applied to my current reality.
Her recent experiences neatly enveloped with a deep understanding of the pressures, expectations, and dynamics involved in leading a team from her current position was all that I needed.
Focused time and dedicated efforts helped me realize that when seeking a mentor, don’t underestimate the power of finding someone who has recently walked in your shoes.
Look for individuals who have transitioned from your role to the immediate next position or possess extensive knowledge and expertise in your field.
The answer lies in finding a mentor who comprehends:
- your present reality
- has overcome challenges similar to yours
- and can guide you towards success with relevance and empathy
While experienced managers hold valuable insights, the benefits of finding a mentor who is just a few steps ahead should not be glossed over.
I encourage you to embrace the power of a nearby mentor and unlock the next step to success in your journey of growth and development.