I was lucky to find a great mentor who encouraged me to get into the commercial real estate business. No doubt my career would look very different if I hadn’t met John Allen of Industrial Equities. He provided me guidance, whether it was sharing insight, asking the right questions, or simply giving me the space to figure things out on my own. As long as I made more good decisions than bad and learned from those bad decisions, we were good. This gave me confidence and allowed me to grow in ways I needed to. I didn’t have to ask questions each time, but with his support I figured it out.
Knowing all the answers doesn’t make someone a good mentor. There’s more to it than talking about lessons learned and knowledge gained along the way. Here are five things I’ve learned about mentorship and figuring things out:
1. Listen! Listening is an essential skill and is necessary to build trust. Most people listen with the intent to reply rather than understand. It’s important that both the mentee and mentor feel understood. Listening is the way we learn each other’s stories and build loyalty, commitment, and trust, which are all dividends.
2. Have an open mind. Both parties bring life experiences and perspectives to the mentorship. There are many lessons to learn when you get outside your bubble and see life in another way. Productive relationships work best when you respect the other person’s differences and value their thoughts and opinions.
3. Keep learning. When you’re in an effective mentoring relationship, you learn, and when you learn you grow. When you share information, collaborate, or think in new ways, growth happens. So does seeking feedback and admitting errors. Growth mindset encourages risk taking with the knowledge it’s not always going to work out, and that’s ok. You figure things out, learn, and keep moving. Just keep a growth mindset as you go.
4. Give quality feedback. Sometimes it can be tricky, but it’s essential. I’ve found that if I put in the effort to build trust, giving and receiving feedback is much easier and far more effective. Again, I recommend reading The SPEED of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything by Stephen M. R. Covey, because “once you get good at trust, everything gets better.”
5. Make time to laugh. Laughter encourages people to relax, open up, and connect. It’s also closely connected to thinking creatively which definitely helps problem solving. But most of all, life is too short not to enjoy it. Like trust, laughter makes things better.
Mentorship requires investment on both sides. Mentees need to be willing to put in the work and figure it out, mentors need to support, and both need to commit. The return on investment is real, as the mentor/mentee relationship can vitalize both careers. I’m here to help if you have any questions (612-788-1552 or jeff@CEGspaces.com).
Jeff Salzbrun is the owner and broker of Commercial Equities Group (CEG). As a veteran-owned real estate brokerage, CEG has been involved in thousands of sale and lease transactions, ranging from single offices to 250,000+ square foot buildings. At CEG, we get your deal done. We know space, and we know the CRE business.
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