The right mentor or adviser can be key in helping you to grow as a leader, but sometimes it can be difficult to know who’s really the best choice.

To help make the determination, ask yourself:

Has this person achieved the success I want to create in my own life?

It’s easy for people to tell you what you should do, but if someone hasn’t been where you want to be or done what you want to do, think twice before following their advice.

Does my association with this person help me or hold me back?

Remember: The people you’re around the most help to shape you. Make sure you surround yourself with people who demonstrate the qualities you aspire to achieve—mentors who can help you learn new skills, colleagues who cheer you on when you get discouraged. Try to avoid negative people who may be threatened by your choices, success and drive.

Is this person invested in my success?

Even if they haven’t excelled in your chosen area, someone who is truly invested in your success and rooting for you can still serve as a sounding board and bring clarity when needed. They can also help keep you accountable by telling you much-needed truths and standing by you no matter what.

Source: “The Only People to Listen to (And Who to Ignore) for Career Growth,” Forbes, Aug. 21, 2021


Critical feedback can be an opportunity or a hindrance—it all depends on how you react. Ignoring negative feedback can cost you credibility, while overreacting and trying to address it all can leave you paralyzed.

To get the most out of criticism:

Manage your emotions. Get perspective and consider the value (or lack of it) in the feedback.

Look for patterns. If one person says it, file it. If two people say it, pay attention. If three or more people have the same feedback, it’s time to take it seriously.

Test it. If you suspect there is a valuable perspective in the feedback, check in with your truth-tellers, mentors and coach.

Ignore it. Remember that you don’t need to react to every bit of criticism you receive. It’s impossible to satisfy everyone, so focus on feedback that adds value.

Be responsive. When it makes sense and is consistent with your values and mission, be clear about how you are responding to the feedback. And if something prevents you from responding, be clear about that as well.

Source: “How Leaders Can Get the Most from Criticism,” Let’s Grow Leaders, Oct. 22, 2018