Q2 2017 Blog: Who Are Your Mentors & Allies?

Mentors and Allies

One of the most important resources anyone can have are allies. Why? If you are having a problem getting things done, it could be because you did not develop a big enough coalition of allies to support your idea. So, how do you develop allies? If you are in a position that controls appointments and promotions of people, they become your allies because you put them in their position. Another way is to do favors for people. Take moving for example. There is this unwritten rule that if I help you move then you will help me when it is time for me to move. There is also the norm of reciprocity, which is like doing favors, but with a longer time frame. In the first Godfather movie, there is a wonderful example. In the opening scene, the Godfather is being asked to provide justice for the daughter of a funeral director. After the Godfather agrees, the end of this scene is the Godfather putting his arm around the funeral director and saying, at some point in the future, and that day may never come, I may ask you to do a favor for me. This is reciprocity! It’s a BIG favor, with a longer time frame.

Allies can also be lost. This happens because people lose their position, have a problem with a too big of an ego, and lose touch. This is why you need to continue to develop new allies.

The three key takeaways to remember about allies are; continue to network so you can develop new allies to replace those that are lost, you will need allies to implement your ideas and fend off attacks from rivals for power, and you can never have too many.

I was fortunate in my business career to have a mentor who took a twenty-four year old kid under his wing to help navigate the political waters of our company. I can honestly say that without him I never would have been as successful as I was in my career. Everyone needs a mentor. There are three types of mentors, the company mentor, the skill mentor, and the career mentor. If you are lucky, you can find someone who might help with all three.

What should you look for in a mentor? First, ask someone you can trust. This is foremost for the relationship to work. Second, find someone who has the maturity and experience to guide you. Third, mentoring is a two-way street, you get out what you put in. Where to find one? Look to your allies first. These are a great resource to draw from. If you don’t feel comfortable with your allies, then look to your network.

Developing allies and finding a great mentor are especially important in today’s business climate. Having them can make a huge difference to your career!


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Have questions or need further information? Contact Frances Wheeland, fwheeland@bauer.uh.edu

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  1. Great advice for anyone in the business world. It is great to have mentors and also be a mentee, as you can always benefit from advice and information

  2. HI Sir, nice information about the mentor, i got the better information when i read it completely, thanks for sharing the information.

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