Being the voice of reason, the ears to listen, and the hands that help.
That’s Matt Heiderscheidt’s definition of mentoring. He’s been that voice, he’s listened, and he’s mentored nearly 100 future leaders at America’s Car-Mart. “It’s so rewarding to know I had a hand in others’ successes in their Car-Mart journeys,” says Matt, our Vice President of Operations, Region 1.
Teaching and mentoring future leaders is important at Car-Mart. We believe our company’s success is about growing our people. And mentors play a vital role in helping shape and guide them in their Car-Mart careers. It’s important to help our future leaders be the best they can be in both their personal and professional lives.
And for Matt, a 20-year Car-Mart veteran who knows the business, mentoring is about paying it forward to our future leaders. It’s about investing time and energy in his mentees. And it’s about sharing his knowledge, advising, and offering help and support.
“I enjoy spending time with my mentees, watching them grow, and seeing them advance in their careers. I am inspired by their ambition,” says Matt. “Most of all, I appreciate and value the relationships I’ve built along the way.”
Here’s Matt’s best advice for taking on a mentor-mentee relationship:
Let your mentees talk. Use your ears more than your mouth. Be a sounding board. Ask thoughtful questions to encourage them to find their own solutions.
Listening will help you understand, interpret, evaluate, and guide your mentee.
2. Be honest and genuine
Let your mentees know you have their best interests in mind. They have to know you care about their professional growth and accomplishments. This means providing quality, constructive feedback to your mentees.
Being honest when delivering feedback can help your mentee grow.
3. Establish trust
Build a relationship with your mentees. Both mentor and mentee contribute to the relationship and learn from each other. Trust leads to open, honest communications. And remember, you never want to lead from a position of power.
A trusting relationship is foundational for successful mentoring.
4. Use your company’s mission, vision, and values as a framework for your mentoring
Show your mentees how you live the company’s values and how they are connected to your business. Explain and demonstrate your company’s mission, vision, and values so they understand their importance, as well as how to apply them in their work.
At Car-Mart, our mission, vision, and values guide how we approach our work and make decisions. So, it’s important to impart what, how, and why of your company’s principles, goals, and aspirations to your mentee.
5. Praise your mentees
Let your mentees know when they’re doing a good job. Show them you have confidence in their abilities and actions.
Praise can improve self-confidence and serves as a motivation so your mentees will aspire for continued improvement.
Matt adds when you employ these five attributes as you mentor others, you’ll show your mentees respect. It’s important they know you value and appreciate them as individuals.
“Being a great mentor takes time and practice, and it’s very rewarding,” Matt concludes. “Being a mentor is an important job. And I’m thrilled to pay it forward to many of our Car-Mart associates, and also help our company along the way.”
Learn more about our other awesome mentors at America’s Car-Mart:
Join our team!
If you’re looking for a career, check out Car-Mart. Go to car-mart.com/careers to learn about job opportunities at Car-Mart in our 12-state area.