By Lisa Del Real
Women, let’s review:
Strong work ethic? Check. Countless certifications? Check. A career still stuck in neutral? Double check.
While determination, education and training are invaluable, sometimes they aren’t enough. Sometimes, you need guidance from someone who has “been there” and “done that.” Sometimes, you need a mentor.
Making time to mentor, especially as a female leader, is a must in the tech industry. If you’re tired of being the only woman sitting through leadership meetings, do something about it! Lend a hand and help lift up other women through mentorship. Here’s how:
- Open Door Policy— Let your direct reports and mentees know that it’s OK to pop-in and ask you for advice, or even just to say hello! Successful mentoring is about trust and personal connection. Not all challenges we need to overcome happen in the boardroom.
- Let Them Learn from Your Mistakes—Congratulations, you made it to the top! Now look back. See that trail of mistakes and missteps you left in your wake? Those are the nuggets of wisdom. Be sure to pass them along. Sharing with a mentee where you went wrong and how to avoid it in the future is just as valuable as dissecting your successful march to the corner office.
- Meet Over Coffee— Moving mentoring meetings offsite separates them from typical work meetings. I like to have my mentoring meetings at a coffee shop before jumping into the workday. Who doesn’t enjoy good conversation and working a problem over a hot “cup of joe?” If I can’t meet in person, Facetime is preferable and will do in a pinch.
- Be a Proactive Mentor— Reach out to your mentee. Don’t wait for them to come to you with a problem. Often, by the time a problem is voiced, it’s usually past when it could have been dealt with easily. The solution? Set regular meetings with your mentee. Even if your mentee doesn’t have a current problem to work over, you should still meet regularly. You’ll get to know her better, and it will make your relationship that much stronger when she has a crisis to work through.
- Follow Up on Your Advice: Did you offer your mentee killer advice? Follow up on it! New problems may have arisen, and she might be too shy or concerned about bringing up new issues too soon. At the very least, it shows you care.
There you have it!
If you’re anything like me, you have a long list of female mentors to thank for getting you to where you are today. Find another woman to mentor. You’ll be honoring your mentors by paying it forward.
Lisa Del Real is vice president of global channel programs and operations at RingCentral. She has been recognized in CRN’s “Women of the Channel” list for the past five consecutive years and also made the magazine’s “Power 100” list in 2018. Before joining RingCentral in 2011, Del Real worked at Accenture Technology Labs and also as the COO of a private mortgage bank. She graduated from Stanford with a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering.