You’ve often seen them in action. Perhaps in a meeting you’ve taken part in or seeing them on stage at a celebratory award event. It might simply have been a pass by in the hallway. Or maybe you received a thank you note from them. Then there’s the masterful way they acknowledge team members in a virtual meeting. Recognition is alive and going well with this leader.
Have you ever thought about asking this individual for their help with giving better recognition? They might mentor you. But how do you go about seeking a mentor? Follow these suggestions for acquiring a mentor and start learning to give more meaningful recognition to people.
Before You Reach Out To Them
Be specific with what it is you admire about their recognition giving abilities. Better yet, write out what your goals would be if they agreed to mentor you. What exactly do you hope to gain from your relationship with them? Your prospective mentor needs to discern if you are prepared to take on this mentor/mentee role.
Their responsibility will be to guide you in giving better recognition and show you what to do and how to do it. Then they should hold you accountable for carrying out assignments. That’s it.
Identify what your strengths and weaknesses are with giving recognition ahead of time. Be candid with this mentor about where you want to improve. When a potential mentor sees your determination to better yourself, they will be more willing to say “yes.”
Finding Your Potential Mentor
While you might have seen an exceptional leader in action, have a backup plan in case they decline your invitation. Make a list of other amazing recognition givers you could ask and tap into their recognition secrets. It might be a former manager you respect, a coworker in another department whose skills you’ve observed, or even a friend in a completely unique organization.
The key to remember, as I have always said, “if you don’t ask, you don’t get.”
Make a list of questions to ask this potential mentor.
- Will you be willing to mentor me on how to give meaningful recognition to staff?
- Will your work schedule permit you to mentor me in learning effective recognition skills?
- How often do you think we should meet? How long should each meeting be?
- What can I do in return for you mentoring me?
Asking Your Mentor Candidate
This is just a candid request laying out the reasons you would like them to mentor you in effective recognition giving skills. Tell them your goals, and describe your strengths and weaknesses with recognition giving, and what you have seen them do so well. Also, keep in mind what you are prepared to bring to them or what you can do in return for their guidance.
You might share out to your network what the mentor has done for you. And you can recommend them for any position that they might ask of you.
When a mentor sees your desire to succeed, you will gain more of their personal commitment to help you.
Learning Exemplary Recognition Skills
In order to make the most of each other’s time together, you will need to clarify and negotiate the expectations you both have for learning recognition. This may entail the frequency of meetings, the best way to meet, the time they and you will commit to mentoring, a path for how to learn and gain better recognition skills, etc.
The biggest value of a mentor/mentee relationship is the feedback received. Ask your mentor what they expect from you as you apply their recognition insights. Let them know how much you appreciate your mentor’s feedback. Mentors should best give feedback on just one or two recognition items that you, as the mentee, can work on next. And, the feedback loop should go both ways. Mentees can give their mentors feedback on the coaching process and what they like or don’t like.
Not all mentorship is one-on-one time. They can provide the mentee with educational programs to view and learn from. They might share sources of information, books, and other resources that helped them learn recognition skills. You might also receive the names of other exemplary recognition givers to learn from.
Recognition Reflection: Do you have a mentorship program in place for employees to learn exemplary recognition giving skills?
Roy is no longer writing new content for this site (he has retired!), but you can subscribe to Engage2Excel’s blog as Engage2Excel will be taking Roy’s place writing about similar topics on employee recognition and retention, leadership and strategy.