When we begin in a new position it is common that a Workplace Buddy is appointed to show us the basics about “How we do things around here”.
Over time you may need a very different type of support, such as a Mentor, to ensure your contribution moves the dial and people see your value in the business.
Make sure you are aware of the difference between the two.
What is a Workplace Buddy?
There are various forms of this but essentially a Workplace Buddy is a person who can establish a workplace toolbox and answer admin questions such as:
- How do I order stationery?
- Where is the contact list?
- How do I book a room for a meeting?
- What do I do about IT issues?
As you progress and become more senior there is still a need for a Workplace Buddy as there will always be questions such as:
- What happens with expenses?
- Who do I talk to about travel arrangements?
- How are budgets reviewed here?
- What is the process for recruiting new people?
At this level maybe you need a more senior Workplace Buddy to add to your workplace Toolbox.
What is a Mentor?
A mentor is an experienced and trusted adviser. This is someone that only you can choose as you need to trust the person and believe the wisdom offered is of benefit to you.
You should be able to discuss scenarios with a mentor in confidence and the interaction should result in some form of greater personal understanding or professional growth.
You should not do this with a Workplace Buddy.
Whilst you may enjoy a great relationship with your manager, and your manager is a skilled coach and leader, always remember their first loyalty may not be to you.
Similarly, there are others in the workplace who have specialist roles in finance, compliance, safety and HR who are great at the detail, like a textbook, but may not offer a way to apply it in the specific scenario you are responsible for. It may be time to turn to your Mentor
As a leader in a business your judgement and decision making will set you apart in good times and bad. By ensuring you have the right Mentor you become more effective and others will notice.
Read more about the Author of this article here.