Mentors’ behaviors have a more powerful impact on protégés than words do. Protégés pay attention to behaviors, and when they observe their mentors’ traits and see a connection to career success, they will want to adopt similar behaviors.

Mentors should model several different types of behavior. For example, technical expertise is important, but interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence hat have the greatest impact. Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to recognize emotional responses to situations and manage them productively. There are four attributes mentors need to demonstrate strong emotional intelligence:

1. Self-awareness. When mentors are aware of their own weaknesses and discuss them candidly with protégés, they are modeling self-awareness. For example, a mentor can ask a protégé for feedback on any aspect of the mentor’s performance. By accepting feedback without defensiveness, the mentor has set an example of behavior that the protégé can emulate.

2. Self-management. Self-management involves dealing positively with stress and not letting emotions overtake rational thinking when difficult challenges arise.

3. Relationship awareness. Mentors who have good relationship awareness are able to step outside themselves and see situations from others’ perspectives. They begin discussions by first trying to understand another’s viewpoint.

4. Relationship management. Conflict in situations or relationships can impede progress. A good mentor knows how to manage conflict by respecting others’ viewpoints and by looking for positive change.


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