In most of our careers, we’ve had a mentor or someone we look up to for guidance and support. Sometimes that person is an ultra-successful celebrity figure such as Bill Gates or Richard Branson, and sometimes they’re an important family member or leader at work.

We’ve explored the internet looking for the best pieces of advice given by mentors. Some of these have been sent in by Argos for Business readers and some are key pieces of advice from business leaders.

We wanted to avoid the clichés, so these 10 pieces of career advice have been carefully selected because they offer valuable advice that you should remember when moving up the ladder at work.

  • Be a leader, not a boss– from Richard Branson. Employees are more likely to support their boss if they see them getting their hands dirty as well, so to speak. Show your employees how to do a task, rather than telling them.
  • A business performs best when all employees are as confident in their abilities as possible. Think long and hard before knocking confidence – Phil Crick, a Managing Director from York. You hire staff to come in and improve your business. You have hired them because they are talented and they are specialists. Put your faith in them rather than knocking them. Employees work best when they feel valued and trusted.
  • Spend more time with people than with your laptop – writes Forbes online. Networking is a major part of current and future business. People base the decision on who they want to work with on both quality of work and personality. They want to know that you are the type of person they can work with and that you share the same ethos and work rate.
  • ‘In business, when you win a big pitch, you tend to go out and celebrate. But if you lose it, you are all in the office at 8 o’clock on Monday morning to find out what went wrong. But that’s not the right way of doing it. There will be blips, but as long as you’re moving on an upward curve over all, you’re going in the right direction. If you lose a pitch, just move on. If you win a pitch, then you analyse your performance and build on all those good things.’ Says Clive Woodward in the ‘Sweet Chariot’ documentary, which follows the England Rugby Union team preparing for the 2003 World Cup. Stay positive and remember it is a marathon, not a sprint.
  • In investing, what is comfortable is rarely profitable– Robert Arnott. You have to take reasonable risks in order to succeed. There is a famous quote that says ‘life begins at the end of your comfort zone.’ Products and processes are often more successful if they are new or do things differently to their predecessors. You mustn’t be afraid of failure.
  • Be stubborn about your goals but flexible in your methods – says John McFaul, co-founder and director of McFaul+Day. If you don’t learn from your triumphs and failures, you will struggle to continue to improve. Goals must be set in order to motivate yourself and your staff or employees, but you must be prepared to adapt to fit different technologies, personalities and an ever evolving audience.
  • Life and work are full of knocks, often when you least expect them. The trick is to learn from them, put them to one side, and move forward. Treat people with respect (even the ones you don’t get along with) and NEVER give up – says Business Development Manager, Peter Moore. It’s important that you realise that work and life can never be one continuous upward curve. You will take knocks and lose some battles. Do not lose sight of the end goal.
  • Try to make the next person’s job down the line easier – says Richard Gary Butler according to Business Insider. You are one team and it is vital that the work you do effectively allows your colleague to take it to the next step. Remembering this will mean you are appreciated by both clients and colleagues.
  • When one door closes, it’s shut! – says Alice Arnold, Radio 4 newsreader. It’s important not to chase lost causes. If something isn’t working, move on and use your resources in more profitable areas.
  • You can’t hope to change a client’s behaviour, until you’ve taken the time to really understand why they behave that way in the first place – from Creative Strategy Director, Ian Feber, from Kent. Ian says that the key to understanding how to improve performance is understanding the true nature of your audience.

If you’re looking for more information on how to excel in your leadership role and build a fantastic team ethos at your company, you can contact us today on 0345 421 7000 or email us at