View from the board: mentoring

Manage your own career. Do not leave it to committees, line management or HR.
You are best positioned to drive your own development with others in a more
supporting role. Research leadership development tools, programmes and processes
within your company.

Seek more information. What best meets your development needs? What are the
entry criteria? What is the process for nomination? What can you do to
strengthen your case for acceptance? What programmes are gatekeepers to other

Take initiative. Seek opportunities to take on more than required. This is a
great way to gain visibility for your talents, provide exposure to new
development and experience and broaden your network of contacts.

Play to your strengths, while seeking ways to broaden your experience base.
Know your weaknesses and do something about them. While you are unlikely to
transform these weaknesses into strengths, you may be able to neutralise them.
Weaknesses can derail career advancement.

Identify gatekeepers for development and other opportunities. Build a case
for what you want and support it with facts about your performance,
accomplishments and strengths.

Maximise your options by ensuring that every new job opportunity passes the
internal and external CV test. That is, how well does this new job opportunity
position you for the next steps within the company? How well does this new job
opportunity position you to enter the external market? Any new job opportunity
should pass both tests.

Multiple perspectives on a challenge or issue can be beneficial. Be cautious
about limiting yourself to one mentor. Your mentor’s star may fall and you do
not want to be attached to it.

Build your network at all levels in the organisation. Meet the right people.
Build your external network as proactively as you build your internal network.
Attending a business school programme can significantly enhance your external
network. This external network may lead to job opportunities down the road or
perhaps the identification of talent to recruit into your team. Take calculated
risks. Nothing great was accomplished without some degree of risk.

Dr Candy Albertsson is an adviser with leadership consultants Boardroom

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