This year, I kicked off a new series of mentoring sessions on LinkedIn Live. I call the series Modern Mentoring, and the name says it all. I love what I do at Microsoft, where I have the pleasure of leading an incredible community of partners. Over my career, I have been lucky enough to learn from, and work alongside, hundreds of talented people. I’m so grateful for the mentorship I’ve received; it has truly gotten me to where I am today. It also puts me in a unique position to share my perspectives, offer support, and empower a new generation of leaders, at scale.
Modern Mentoring is also a learning opportunity for me. I get to meet people from all over the world, at all stages of their careers, and listen to their stories, learning what matters most to them right now. During last Wednesday’s session, people tuned in from Washington, D.C. to Seattle, Washington, and from Albertville, Minnesota to Grand Prairie, Texas. I am deeply privileged that so many of you have shared your questions and challenges with me.
In my recent Modern Mentoring sessions, I’ve covered topics like inclusive leadership, imposter syndrome, and balancing career goals and life goals. This past Wednesday’s session was especially rewarding because the topic was open-ended: “Ask Me Anything About Career Development.”
While many of our careers look very different on the surface, the questions we face are universal. What if I don’t get along with my boss? How do I get my career “unstuck”? How do I know when it’s time to leave my job?
Here are three of the biggest takeaways that came out of the AMA and be sure to check out the full recording to learn more.
1 – Be a learn-it-all, not a know-it-all.
We’re often afraid to let others know what we don’t know. In reality, asking for guidance can demonstrate maturity and confidence. After all, we’ve all had to ask for help at some point during our careers. One of the best ways to seek help is to establish a relationship with a mentor. In my last session, I explained how nourishing this relationship can be one of the smartest career moves you can make.
2 – Know what your non-negotiables are, and what you are willing to do. Where are you in your life plan?
Think about your career as a ladder. You need to be clear about your goals and your game plan to achieve them in order to climb from one rung to the next. One helpful tactic I discussed is to write out a document outlining the milestones you’d like to hit and share it with your mentor and manager. Make sure you’re clear about what you hope to achieve. Ask for constructive feedback.
3 – Any relationship should be a two-way street, even professional ones. They are much more fruitful that way.
This is true whether you’re beginning a relationship with a mentor or dealing with a difficult boss. Resist the impulse to judge. Set aside your needs for a moment. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Remember that it’s not all about you! In my last session, I talked about leading with empathy. Try it next time you’re put in a difficult situation. When you shift your energy toward others, doors magically seem to open.
Feel free to share additional career questions and challenges with me on my website. I’ll do my best to share any insight I can during my next Q&A. I hope you will share this with your community and join one of our sessions!