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Mentors are great. They help us become better versions of ourselves, both in and out of the workplace. Having a mentor within the workplace can help lead us to promotions, or generally become better at our jobs. The problem is that not every mentor is a good one. When we enter a mentorship, we want to know that the person mentoring us will help us achieve new heights, and not waste our time. So how do we recognize if a mentor is a bad one? Here are a few ways to recognize a bad mentor.

They Don’t Listen

Good mentors do not need to be dominant in order to have a successful conversation. Instead, they should listen to their mentees and provide advice. Your mentor is there to guide you and help you out of tight spots, so they need to be willing to listen to your struggles and how you’re feeling so they can then provide you with the guidance you need to get out of your rut and back into the realm of success.

They Don’t Provide Encouragement

One of the most important things a mentor can do is provide their mentee with encouragement. As a mentee, you’re going to have good times and bad ones and your mentor is supposed to be there to lift you up regardless of those results. If you fail, your mentor should help you get back on your feet and keep pushing for success. If you succeed, then they should acknowledge the hard work you’ve done that led to that success. These things are important for letting the mentee know that they’re doing a good job or that it’s okay if they stumble from time to time.

They Don’t Acknowledge Their Mistakes

If a mentor refused to acknowledge where they’ve failed, then they’ve failed as a mentor. We all make mistakes, and not even the greatest of leaders and mentors always get things right. The difference between a good and a truly great mentor though is that they can acknowledge their shortcomings, and discuss those shortcomings with their mentee. This can help create a stronger bond between the mentee and mentor, and sometimes the mentee can even help the mentor overcome those shortcomings.

They Criticize You When You Don’t Listen

Mentors are there to guide us, not control us. When you’re in a mentorship, your mentor will likely make suggestions about how to approach things, but the fact of the matter is that sometimes you won’t want to follow them. Perhaps you don’t feel comfortable with what they suggest, or maybe you have your own preferred way of approaching certain things. That’s okay. What isn’t good is when a mentor decides to criticize you for not following their directions. They aren’t in charge of you, they’re meant to guide you.