Many successful women cite having had a mentor as the biggest influence in their career. So, if we all know it’s important, then why don’t more of us have them and how do we get one?
Where the mentor gap begins
According to the Harvard Business Review, one of the biggest problems for women seems to be that we don’t seek out mentors the way men do, and when we do, those mentors are usually in a less senior position than the mentors men choose.
The other factor is time. As women, we typically have the added burden of doing the majority of the work-life balancing. As a result, women who obtain powerful positions in their careers and have families often have less time to offer formal mentoring to others, even if they have benefited from it themselves.
Women are projected to make up 51 percent of the workforce by 2018. To ensure that we grow to our full potential, finding a mentor needs to become a priority.
While bluntly asking someone to be your mentor can be effective, mentorship usually happens when your good work gets the attention of your boss or someone in a higher position sees you as a younger version of themselves, inspiring her to take you under her wing.
When you’re in the spotlight for a job well done, take a moment to speak to your supervisor, the CEO or someone else you feel will be able to best guide you. Discuss your work, where you see yourself going and ask for advice on how to get there. You can ask for monthly touch-base meetings or whatever your soon-to-be-mentor’s schedule will allow.
In essence, you’re asking without asking, and hopefully the relationship grows and evolves organically.