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Contribute to the Success of Others

Categories: Culture, Article

How to be a better mentor

JW Way Fundamental #20: Be a Mentor  "Help others. Take responsibility to coach, help, guide, teach, and mentor others. Contributing to the success of others enhances your own success and well-being, as well as our firm."

This JW Way Fundamental is closely related to another fundamental which requests us to be lifetime learners. Mentoring is about supporting those around us in their journey of lifetime learning and in doing so we receive as much as we give.

It may come naturally to mentor those who are like us: those who hold the same positions as we hold or once held, those who are of similar backgrounds to us, those who are the same race and gender. We naturally seek out mentors and mentees who we can most relate to. However, consider reaching beyond that and mentoring those who are different from you. Perhaps a young person with a different socioeconomic or cultural background from you, or a fellow worker who is the opposite gender or has a different position from yours in the firm. By diversifying our mentoring relationships, we accelerate growth and give and gain opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise be as achievable.

It is important to seek out both formal and informal mentoring opportunities. Take a look at your goals and ask yourself if there is someone else in the firm or in your life who excels in that area. If there is, ask him or her about it and start a conversation. If someone in the firm asks you advice about their goals, welcome the opportunity to provide mentoring. Better yet, look for opportunities to mentor those who are newer to the firm or to a position.

Author and leadership expert Dr. Lois Zachary quoted an African proverb in the preface of her book, The Mentor’s Guide: Facilitating Effective Learning Relationships. The proverb is “If you want to travel fast, go alone, if you want to travel far, go together.” At Jaburg Wilk, we strive to travel far and we know that doing it together makes us all better at what we do.


About the Author: Maria Crimi Speth is a shareholder and Department Chair of the intellectual property group at the Phoenix law firm of Jaburg Wilk. She has expertise in copyright law, trademark law, and Internet law as well as authoring the book, Protect Your Writings: A Legal Guide for Authors.