Sameera was facing a dilemma in her career journey. She didn’t know whether she should go for further studies or apply for a job. One would mean making a huge monetary investment, the other would take away the time she could spend learning something new.

She decided to turn to her former boss at her last internship. She was able to build a rapport with them and connected with them well enough to reach out to them in such a time.

Sameera’s former boss was a mentor to her—they asked her to weigh the pros and cons, before making a decision. They were invested in her success and well-being—marks of a true mentor. Rather than influencing her decision, they helped her come to a solution on her own volition.

  1. Why Do We Need A Mentor?

  2. Role Of A Mentor In The Workplace

  3. Qualities Of A Good Mentor

Why Do We Need A Mentor?

Mentorships are healthy, inspiring and wholesome professional relationships that can help you succeed. From introducing you to new career opportunities to problem-solving, the role of a mentor is to teach you how to achieve your goals, overcome challenges and be your best self.

A mentor doesn’t have to be directly involved with your work or job role. They could be your former boss or supervisor. They’ll stand by you when you’re in a tough spot and be there for you when you need a helping hand.

The purpose of a mentor is to have a role model in your life to guide you every step of the way. Even if you stumble, you know there’s a person who has your best interests in mind. The responsibilities of a mentor may not be work-related at all, they can simply cheer you on from the sidelines. But their presence—and knowing that they’re available—is enough to keep you going.

Role Of A Mentor In The Workplace

Having a role model in the workplace can make your work life simpler. Not because you should hope for preferential treatment, but because you can ask questions about relevant problems and find solutions together. It’s like an apprenticeship where you’re learning straight from the expert. A hands-on mentorship will lead to improved results because you’ll be improving regularly.

Let’s look at some of the qualities of a mentor to understand how they help you be the best version of yourself.

Qualities Of A Good Mentor

Characteristics of a mentor aren’t restricted to their expertise in a particular field, it’s also concerned with how well you get along with them. If you can define your career goals and know who to reach out to, you can start your mentorship.

Here are some qualities of a mentor who can show you the way to success:

  1. Empathetic Ear

More than anything else, the responsibilities of a mentor include listening to you and your troubles. To be able to guide you on the right path, they have to first understand where you are in your life. Lending an ear or listening to you with empathy will help you connect with them better.

  1. Experience And Learnings

You should communicate with someone who’s an expert in their field (also your field). Not only are they experts but also passionate about what they do. A mentor who’s excited about their work, even the day-to-day, can teach you so much about how you can be an admirable professional. It’s critical to love what you do otherwise you can burn out before you know it. Find someone you can share your passion with—a person you can talk to about your ideas.

  1. Honesty And Equity

Key characteristics of a mentor are incomplete without honesty and equity. Mentors are there to help, support and guide you. They must be honest and authentic in what they do or say. They can’t say one thing and do another. It’s important for them to lead by example. In terms of equity, they should respect your unique skills or abilities. Instead of molding you into an exact copy of them, the role of a mentor is to encourage you to be true to yourself.

  1. Similar Career Trajectory

Someone who shares a similar career path as you envision for yourself will be able to guide you better. You can ask them questions when you’re facing a problem. But this doesn’t mean that you should mimic their journey to the last detail. It should only act as an outline of a roadmap that you can take some inspiration from.

  1. Drive To Impart Knowledge

Most of all, a mentor should have the drive to instruct. Sharing their knowledge with you should come naturally to them. This way you won’t hesitate before asking them about something.

Mentorships can blossom into meaningful and fruitful relationships for both you and your mentor. Not only will you learn something from them, but they have something to learn from you as well—your drive, persistence and determination.

Harappa’s Navigating Workplaces course will teach you how to map key stakeholders at work to optimize your work life. Learn from our expert faculty about how their mentors helped them advance in their careers. First-hand knowledge is the best kind of teaching. You’ll soon find that there are opportunities lying in wait and all you need to do is look in the right places!


Explore topics such as Organizational BehaviorWhat is Mentoring and What is a Mentor from Harappa Diaries to learn about mentoring at work.

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