Managing Director of Links International
I have a mentor and while I appreciate all that he has done for me when I was first learning the ropes now I feel like he purposely keeps me under his thumb. At every opportunity, he takes credit for my wins. I feel I am ready to step out from under his shadow and stand on my own two feet. I don't want to burn bridges but I also want to show my worth. What can I do? And I feel he has taught all that I can learn from him. Maybe it’s time for a new mentor?
Debbie Matson - Career Doctor
Posted Tuesday 24th September 2013 10:01:00 PM
Dear Hin Step back and consider the reason this person became your mentor. If you are lucky in your career, you will have a mentor who helps you with the nuance of overcoming challenges, assists you in plotting career strategies and imparts other long term success tactics. You seem to be viewing this mentor as someone to deliver a specific set of introductory pieces of information, and then you will walk away. It may help to try and look at the relationship as a two way street. What is the benefit to the mentor of this relationship? What type of positive conversation could you have to start a dialogue about developing your own work product? If you are ready to stand on your own two feet and step out from the shadow, what small steps might you take immediately to help you stand out, without threatening the relationship? While you are evaluating your plans regarding your mentor, you need to think about whether it is really a problem for your work to be seen as part of his work? It is possible that others within the organization see his work product as a team effort and understand well that you are part of it. Team work is highly valued in many places. Be careful not to send the wrong message as you agitate for more time in the spot light. It is good that you are thinking in terms of not burning bridges. Why would you leave one mentor for another? Why do you want a mentor? Is this part of the culture in your office? Or you need help with something? Given your attitude toward your mentor, I think that changing mentors is only helpful if your target is someone with a skill that you value and need to understand further. Otherwise, over time you should work on becoming independent without the additional help. You are lucky that someone has taken the time to focus on your development as you have entered a new job. Make sure the mentor does know that his time and effort have been appreciated. If you really want to step out from his shadow, do that by your actions. Take initiative, offer solutions not problems, meet all your deadlines and be creative. Ultimately your actions will speak loudly and your contribution will be recognized.