Over the course of my career in various leadership positions, I have mentored and have been mentored by many people. I’ve seen through those experiences and conversations that it’s very important to set examples and guide people in their careers. I’ve also learned that a simple way to approach priorities in career development is to focus on the “4 R’s.”

The first “R” is to develop a strong resume, built upon your education and experiences.

The second “R” is for reputation. It is important to develop and protect a reputation of fairness, ethical behavior and trustworthiness.

The third “R” is relationships. Never underestimate the influence of relationships on your career. Before people will give you opportunities, they must trust you. Before they can trust you, they must respect you. And before they respect you, they must know you.

Finally, the last “R” is risk. Taking on new and challenging experiences will enrich your life and help drive your career.

Your resume, reputation, relationships and the risks you take will create the foundation for professional growth.

Equally important is a focus on mentoring – both giving and receiving advice. More and more organizations are adding mentoring programs as they realize the value of developing their talent to ensure their long-term success. Research in the business and educational settings shows that both employees and students are more apt to do well if they’ve had a mentor.

The importance of mentoring also can be heard in countless award acceptance speeches. Inevitably, honorees thank their teacher, coach, boss or other mentor figure for making their honor possible.

That’s because mentors have real-life examples to share about what does and doesn’t work. Learning through their experiences is an ongoing effort of every successful leader, and sharing that knowledge is essential if we are to help create the next generation of effective leaders.