Throughout my career, I have been fortunate to work with a large, diverse group of talented people. I have learned a great deal from them and I have also had the opportunity to provide guidance and support as well. There are many experiences that I am thankful for but here are three key things I will always be thankful for professionally.
Working with different mentors throughout the years has taught me the importance of serving others as well as how beneficial it can be to learn from mentors.
Perspective: From one of my earliest experiences with a mentor, I learned to appreciate having another perspective from someone who has worked through challenges and opportunities similar to the ones I was facing.
Guidance: In time, mentors get to know your strengths, weaknesses, aspirations and fears. They strive to use this understanding to offer the right guidance when you need it—guidance based upon their experience but guidance that is tailored to your unique circumstances.
Development: From working with mentors I have discovered new ways to approach challenges as well as the ability to discern from what is important in the short term but not so in the longer term.
Leaders can not only inspire others, they can also create the circumstances for others to perform at high levels and even flourish in their careers. My most significant developmental experiences involved working with empowering leaders.
Opportunities: Empowering leaders provide opportunities for employees to independently create and implement ways to accomplish complicated tasks. They also can offer assignments that position you to develop various skills including the ability to navigate organizational politics or how to secure support without authority.
Stretch Assignments: Development from stretch assignments can serve to position you for other opportunities including management or leadership roles with increasing levels of responsibility. They provide you with the circumstances to test your skills and abilities while presenting you with the opportunity to make and learn from mistakes as well as begin to understand how to apply learning from one experience to others.
Credibility: Leaders can open doors for you and impact your effectiveness without even being directly involved in your interactions with others. Once a leader provides you with their endorsement or permission to use their name, others respond in various ways—mostly positive because they are relying on the trust they have in your leader. I have worked with high levels of talent and been able to be a part of very impactful programs simply because an executive trusted me to get the work done on their behalf.
Whether your development stems from leaders empowering you or you taking the initiative to commit to your own progress, you can fulfill stretch goals, develop through volunteerism or create hobbies or serve others as you learn and grow.
Intrapreneurial Work: Being able to work with diverse groups of people and using advanced communication skills are two of the most important aspects that have impacted my most meaningful experiences. Both of these are critical to effectiveness with intrapreneurial work. Approaching work with a customer service attitude and a desire to empower others to contribute using their strengths in support of shared goals can help motivate others.
Challenging Goals: The realization that you can achieve goals greater than you thought possible can be quite motivating. It can also inspire you to raise your standards and the expectations you set for yourself. My experiences have involved achieving challenging goals only to set even more challenging goals in the future—essentially creating a steady stream of challenging tasks. These types of circumstances must be kept in perspective and managed to prevent stress and frustration.