Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Mentoring Effect


Have you ever had a mentor? Someone you could turn to when you had questions, when you needed advice, or just simply to bounce ideas off of? In short, someone you could rely on to tell you the truth. I have had the pleasure of both having great mentors as well as serving as a mentor for others. I highly recommend both.

As leaders, it is an obligation we have to serve in a mentoring capacity. Leadership is about development, both our own as well as our influence on others. We cannot be content in simply serving in a leadership capacity, we must be willing to put ourselves out there in service to others; we must be willing to take on the responsibility of leadership mentoring.

Below are seven tips for effective leadership mentoring:

Maintain regular contact: It is easy in the busy hustle of life to forget that we have someone relying on us. Mentors should assume they are the givers in this relationship. Consistent contact models dependability and builds trust.

Always be honest: To truly be effective and to be a part of your protégé’s leadership development, you must tell them the truth. Trust and respect are the foundations on which leadership development occurs.

Don’t expect to have all the answers: Despite your level of self-confidence, you are not the perfect leader. Sometimes, you won’t have the answer or know just what to do. That’s okay, sometimes just listening is all people need.

Be willing to share: You are in this relationship to share your knowledge, skills, expertise, and even personal contacts to help your protégé develop new leadership skills and grow as a leader. Don’t be selfish in sharing your successes.

Be clear about expectations: Most effective mentoring relationships start with a clear understanding of the expectations. This can include how often you will meet, the goals of the relationship, and other important details to ensure the relationship is effective and enjoyable for both parties.

Respect confidentiality: Good friends do… and good mentors do as well. Again, trust is the foundation of leadership and you will do more harm than good if you violate this confidence.

Have fun: Leadership is fun and our participating in the development of other leaders should be fun as well. While the professional nature of leadership mentoring is important, find ways to make it personal and fun as well.

A mentor is someone who has knowledge and experience that can be beneficial to the growth and development of others. The mentoring effect occurs when we share our wisdom and know-how in support of the professional growth and development of an emerging leader. In the words of Oliver Goldsmith, "People seldom improve when they have no other model but themselves to copy."

For whom are you modeling great leadership? I would love to hear about your mentoring relationships.