In January I wrote a post for National Thank Your Mentor Day in which I publicly thanked several of the people who had mentored me over the years. Not surprisingly, they all reached out to thank me for the recognition. Here’s what was surprising: not a single one of them remembered the advice that I so eagerly soaked up and made a part of my everyday actions. Granted, much of the advice was imparted over a decade ago, but to me—I recall it as if it was yesterday. For them—it was just a blip in the stream of conversations that flow continuously throughout the work day.
Another observation: none of the people whose words made such an impact were a formal mentor to me. Some were my direct supervisors, some are peers, and some I’ve simply admired mostly from afar. But all of them had something to say and I was open to hearing it.
It’s a great reminder to leaders everywhere:
- Your words matter.
- People are listening.
- The smart ones are even taking note of your advice and doing something with it.
So here’s the deal: even if your company doesn’t have a formal mentoring program, you have protégés. Most likely, these people will not take the time to let you know how much your actions and wise words meant to them. But even if they don’t clue you in please know that you did make a difference.
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