"You're a bit too young."
"You've got a great attitude, but you haven't got enough experience".
Phrases that I'm sure most of us can relate to, having received them at some point of our careers. I'm in my fourth year of mentoring at Mosaic Network and someone recently asked me,
"Why are you going there again, why not try another charity?"
My initial thought was, well, why should I try somewhere else? Mosaic does great work; they're reliant on volunteers; and I enjoy it. But then again, hundreds of charities do great work, are reliant on volunteers, and I'm sure would be just as enjoyable to volunteer for. So I probed further.
Would you run through a brick wall for your manager? Blunt, I know, but the best managers I've had didn't care so much for experience, or the classification of your degree, or even if you had any higher education under your belt, but more about the attitude of an individual and how they applied and demonstrated that on a day-to-day basis, not to take anything away from the importance & advantages of a great education. It's no coincidence that my performance, morale and progression, working for those managers, have been light-years ahead, compared to some other managers (several silver bullets dodged, in hindsight).
It's been all abuzz in the corporate world for a while, to 'continuously improve' as a business, but what about continuously improving our leaders of tomorrow? And how do we do it?
All good leaders should understand the importance of a positive attitude, and the right attitude for the people they are managing, in order to enhance their performance and progression. It is vital that all future leaders understand the benefits that a good attitude will bring, not only in a business-environment, but to our society more widely. Overlooking those who may not have the highest academic achievements to their name, is only a failure on the recruiting-manager's part; it is far wiser to select individuals on their personal attitude, mind-set, and out-of-the-box achievements, than to simply rule them out for perhaps a lack in career-years. This is also something that EY have recently picked up on: to have the safety in your knowledge that it is okay to not be the highest academic achiever in order to be a success.
So, why am I going back to Mosaic again, starting my fourth consecutive year of voluntary mentoring?
Easy - to continue with the Mosaic mantra of helping develop the society of tomorrow by the 'The Power of Positive Thinking', and to pass on the message that the best people I've worked for have instilled in to me: that having the right attitude does not compensate for your lack of experience, academic record, or years of life, but it overtakes it, supersedes it, and becomes far more relevant for any job worth doing. That's the attitude I refer to - it shouldn't be seen as 'compensating'. The right attitude is simply worth its weight in gold.