For a few days now, thoughts and ideas have been bubbling in my mind about the future direction of research support and digital systems at Lancaster University Library. However, I also noticed that my thinking was overtaken by concerns surrounding the ideas rather than what those ideas would mean in practice. I wasn’t sure what to do next, I was feeling a bit lost and unsure. I did what any good leader would do in a situation of uncertainty, I asked for help from one of my mentors.
I have been very privileged at Lancaster University to have not one but two mentors over the past couple of years. One of my mentors is from professional services and the other mentor from Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. This has helped me tremendously to broaden my exposure and flourish in my capability.
Today I want to talk about good mentorship. Good mentors can help you shape your thoughts in your own way. They can take you back to the basics, challenge you and help you question things in the most helpful and appropriate fashion. They help you strip complex ideas into smaller pieces, allowing you to achieve clarity of thinking and a deeper understanding of the need and the purpose of the task. In HE leadership, it is often a common tendency to fit things into the structures and form that exists currently to avoid conflict and reduce the effort involved in change and transition management. Good mentors challenge whether form is really following function or are you tweaking function to fit the form. When lots of thoughts are rumbling up in your mind, they can help you shape those thoughts into ideas, ideas into objectives and objectives into realities without judging you and your ramblings in the process. They can give you a solid sounding board and give you confidence. A good mentor relationship is almost like therapy, you come out of it feeling motivated, self-confident, full of energy and with a clearer idea of what to do next.
In terms of whats next for me, I have decided to continue my mentoring relationship at Lancaster University (thank you to all my mentors) but also seek external mentorship for continuous growth in my leadership capacity.