There is no better time of the year to start giving. Sharing your business or courtroom experiences, leadership skills, and knowledge is an invaluable service you can give to a new lawyer or a fellow team member who might be looking for some guidance. Here are 7 tips to help you thrive as a mentor, and help your mentee shine.
1. Teach your mentee about DALT
Dependability: To be successful, you need to be dependable. Teach your mentee that if given a job or task, to complete the task correctly and on time. Be the person everyone can depend on.
Attitude: When a person is motivated, others can feel it and feed off that energy to become motivated too. If you come to work wanting to be there, and wanting to accomplish goals each day, your example can motivate your mentee to want to work harder than anyone else. Most of us have the desire to be the best we can be, but life distracts us and we need mentors to keep us on track to reach our true potential.
Leadership/Quality of work: Teach your mentee how to lead with pride. A leader is someone who lifts their team up and make smart business and case decisions. They reach out to all team members equally to ensure they are on track to meeting their goals as well as firm goals.
Thrive: To be successful in life you need to thrive - to be best person you can be. The dictionary defines ‘thrive’ in this way: “to grow or develop vigorously.” Encourage, even push, your mentee to thrive at accomplishing their goals, earning a promotion, or even working towards becoming a lead attorney on a case. To thrive is to feed a hunger. The hungrier you are, the better success tastes when you achieve it.
2. Actions Speak Louder than Words
To set goals is one thing, to reach those goals, quite another. Ask your mentee, what goals do you want to reach? Discuss their ideas and provide them with feedback that focuses on their strengths. Help by providing tangible tools they may need to reach those goals – from paper and pen, to apps or computer programs. Check in, follow up and push them. There may be times they want to give up, but you can be that voice, telling them they can do it.
3. Praise, Praise, Praise
Take a moment to let them know they are doing a good job. Send them a quick email or make a call congratulating them on a recent success (e.g. a positive result in a case). Speak highly of a goal they just achieved in front of others. It could be as simple as forwarding positive feedback from a client to the rest of the team. Have them create “A Stellar Folder” where they can file professional praise, notes, comments on projects, or words of encouragement. Later, in times of need, they will be able to refer back to that file for motivation.
4. Open Your Ears
Many times, you can help someone find focus just by listening. Reach out often to find out if there is anything they need to talk about. Offer to meet them for coffee or grab a quick lunch. Getting out of the office and letting someone vent their frustrations can help relieve stress.
5. Celebrate Milestones
Life is too short NOT to make a big deal of accomplishments. If your mentee passed the bar, got a certification, argued their first motion or tried a difficult case, acknowledge it. Make a big deal out of it. Let them know they strived and succeeded. No one ever turns down a high five!
6. Shoulder to Cry On
As rewarding as being a mentor can be, it is not always easy. There may be times when your mentee wants to give up. That is when you need to be strong for them. Maybe you have had life experiences that can inspire them or you can point out how other people have found the power to get through the challenges to achieve the rewards. Help light that fire under your mentee to get them back on track.
7. Be ready to Learn a Thing or Two
The point of being a mentor is to help someone else grow. However, as you guide them, mold them and push them to reach new potential, your mentee may help you grow too. You may have years of experience but, younger associates can provide a fresh perspective to the latest technologies and platforms for case organization, legal research and trial preparation. As you listen and coach this person, their different viewpoint on life may provide you with a new insight about ways to reach your own goals.
Being a positive role model in someone’s life can change both your lives for the better and many mentorship relationships are everlasting. You will never completely know the impression you can make on someone. Start making that everlasting impression today.