‘An experienced and trusted adviser or mentor, without whom in this modern rat race you are bound to fail.’ Those were the words of my first superior as I joined the professional world. I was then just few days old in my first job. Whom would I trust? All the people around me seemed to know so much more then me. Every Tom, Dick and Harry advised me on every thing under the Sun. One month in my job I made my first mistake and was called by the General Manager, the biggest guy around. People around me were more tense then I was. As I walked in to the room I saw a middle aged nattily dressed man sitting behind the biggest desk I had seen till then. He looked up nodded and asked me to sit. ‘Such a polite man and why were they tense’ I thought. After finishing the work he was doing he asked me,” Do you know you made a grave mistake today?”
“Sorry Sir, but that is what I was asked to do.”
“And who asked you to do this?”
“Mr. X guided me to do this work. He even checked it after I had finished. Sir, Mr. J was also there.”
” Oh, I see. What are they, your mentors?”
” Sir, Mr. X had said that we need a mentor to survive in this modern rat race.”
“Good. You go outside and wait…… By the way will you please ask Mr. X and Mr. J to come in. I want to talk to those two rats immediately.” By the end of his speech his voice was almost cracking, for the first time I understood why everybody was nervous.Little later I was called in again. Mr. GM had by then regained his composure. He smiled, it seemed genuine, asked me to sit down. I saw Mr. X and Mr. J standing so I hesitated. Mr. Gm said,”Sit down my boy. Now I will have to tell you something very important which I am sure even Mr. X and Mr. J will agree. This is regarding having mentor and I think both of them are not good enough to be your mentors because they themselves do not know their work properly. What do you two think?”
“You are right Sir”, they spoke in unison.
“Listen my boy you have to understand one thing, not everybody can be a mentor. Only one who knows his work, is an expert and can help without expecting anything in return can become a mentor. A mentor is nothing but a modern day Guru. If you have any question regarding work you may go to Mr.S, to your superior or even come to me. If you have to come to me with any problem please come with atleast three solutions which you can think of and I will try to show you the way. However when you will find three solutions you will need no mentor to be sure.”
This what I have been trying to do since I rose up the ladder, ask people to come with solutions to the problem. I help them to choose the best option. Most of them are soon on their own and do not need any help.