A couple of times lately, younger professional women have come to seek my advice on some situations they’ve found themselves in in their work life… Anything from discussing appropriate work wear, or how to handle a tough conversation with a client or colleague, correct ways to entertain clients and how to be confident. And believe it or not, just plain feeling comfortable ‘being themselves’ in a business setting rather than ‘being an exemplar businesswoman’.
It got me thinking about the times when I went to my more experienced peers seeking advice (and I still do), and the positive impact of those conversations on me and how they shaped my career decisions.
The truth is, I feel really honoured to be a person that other women trust. Whether it’s to discuss a situation and seek my advice (somewhere along the track I may have experienced something similar or I am familiar with the circumstances) or to see how I would handle a situation. I help them make up their own mind about how to tackle it, and in most instances they just need a sounding board.
Experience in business, and the confidence that you gain as you encounter different situations, comes with time. Dealing with those difficult meetings, standing your ground on a decision, knowing when to negotiate and even knowing when to walk away from a deal, all come with time.
As a recruiter, I see many candidates who are starting out in their career and have aspirations of taking over the world – their enthusiasm for their work is palpable! It’s something I find quite inspiring and probably something that makes me enjoy working with people daily.
I think those of us with experiences over time have a responsibility to guide and mentor others who are starting their professional life or making a change in their career. When the going gets tough and someone less experienced doesn’t know how to handle a situation, it’s up to us to listen. We should take time out to talk with them about how to handle that situation, so that once resolved, they can add it to their collection of experiences, to one day pass on with their experience gained with time.
Are you part of a mentoring program or have you benefited from being mentored at any stage of your career? What advice would you give to other professionals who are just starting out or are new to the industry in your world @work?