Pro-active tips for successful mentoring relationships (by James Gould, HMS office of Postdoctoral Fellows)
1. Quit taking it personally (Q-TIP) - Constructive criticism and failure are part of the research enterprise; use them to inform your next steps.
2. Seek out a reality check - Your perception of a situation may not match reality, so check in with a colleague before a misunderstanding occurs.
3. Set goals and expectations together and re-evaluate them often - It is important to set goals and long term expectations; just make sure to revisit them going forward.
4. Always be prepared for a meeting - It is your responsibility to have all necessary meeting materials sent ahead of time if possible. If your PI wants an impromptu meeting, ask for a few minutes to collect your thoughts before sitting down.
5. Ask for feedback but make sure you have several ideas on hand - You will not know everything about a project but when seeking input you must also contribute.
6. Seek out other advisors in addition to your PI - This is a common practice that allows broader discussion with a non-invested party.
7. Do not isolate yourself - Be an active participant in your project, in your lab, in your community, and in your life. Introduce yourself to department administrators and staff.
8. Realize that mentoring goes both ways - As a rule of thumb in relationships, you get what you give. Treat your mentor as you'd like to be treated.
9. Be honest and clear about your preferred mentoring style - We all know you can't always get what you want, but asking increases the likelihood that you will.
10. Remember that you are an adult and this is your career - You are ultimately responsible for your actions and how your career progresses.
11. Use the resources available to you - The Ombuds Office and the Office for Postdoctoral Fellows are just a few of the resources you have to help you in your tenure here.