Note: This question specifically focuses on identifying a mentor in my organization, and therefore is not a duplicate of questions like: Seeking out a Mentor in field that does not work at the same company, or How can I find a Mentor?
Note: I am looking for a mentor at my specific workplace because I want to benefit from someone with extensive institutional knowledge in the same organization, not somewhere else.
I work in a large organization with fairly set hierarchical structure and relatively low turnover. I have been here for a few years and know people in different departments and units.
However, I do not have a mentor.
I would like to find a mentor among the people I know, who is placed higher in the organization, has learned the ropes, and could advise me on topics such as:
- management, supervision, and leadership;
- internal politics, looming changes on the horizon - someone who can read the "writing on the wall" and anticipate reshuffling or budget swings;
- opportunities for internal networking and professional development;
- be a trusted source of strategic advice in times of need, unlikely to betray/backstab;
I wonder if anyone has experience finding similar mentors, and can share HOW this was accomplished?
Was it a lucky result of random internal matchmaking as part of HR policy, or a result of some ad-hoc proactive search on your part? If the latter, what do you think you did right to end up with a good mentor?
What qualities should one look for in a potential mentor?
What are some tell-tale signs that one would be a good fit for such a role?
On the opposite, what behaviors or attitudes raise a flag?
Once I find someone who fits the profile, what is a good way to approach them about this in a way that leaves them an out in case they are not interested, without creating an awkward tension afterwards?
One person I can think of who seems like a potential fit is my boss. Are there downsides to asking one's boss to also be a mentor? We have a reasonably good working relationship and I get positive performance reviews. However, being a "junior" employee compared to some of the others, I am not high up enough and have not been around for as long as others who also report to him, and I generally have less (in fact, very little) 'face time' with him. Would this be a showstopper?
Any informed advice based on experience would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.