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Creating Successful Leaders

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It comes as no surprise to me that businesses and organizations of all types have set up mentorship programs to increase meaningful relationships among the members of their teams. Why? Because mentoring is one of the most powerful, effective forms of leadership.

Yet I’ve noticed that many are hesitant to adopt the role of mentor. They may feel that they aren’t good enough teachers, or that they lack the confidence to take ownership of their skill sets.

The truth is we’re all mentors, whether we know it or not. And while we may not have fully developed this trait, we all possess the potential to become effective mentors and thus, great leaders.

Mentors Lead By Example

In an article from The Journal of Leadershipeducational consultants John C. Kunich and Richard I. Lester detail some key aspects of strong mentoring.

A mentor must behave at all times, both publicly and privately, as if the protégé were the mentor’s shadow.

I touched on this in last week’s post, but it’s worth noting here again, because mentoring goes beyond the workplace. Even in your life outside of work, when people might not be watching, you must stay consistent with your values. At the end of the day, good leadership relies upon a life of integrity. When you take a protégé under your wing, you give them clearance to assess your actions. Don’t take this lightly! It’s a big responsibility, yes, but it’s also immensely rewarding to be able to show your mentoree the ropes simply by doing the work you do best.

Mentors Share Their Networks

One of the greatest resources an “old head” owns is a network of people who can help cut through the usual tangle of red tape and quickly obtain the desired result.

Networking in general relies upon sharing contacts and leads, so what better way to give your protégé a head start than equipping them with contacts early on in the mentoring process? Set them up with meetings or informational interviews, give out contact information, or hand them one of your friend’s business cards. I’m sure you can think of people in your life who’ve let you into their already-established network, and I’m just as sure that you appreciate that they did.

Mentors Set Goals And Instill The Value Of Goal-Setting

It should become apparent to the protégé that there are significant differences between workable goals on the one hand and pleasant but less reality-based dreams, hopes, or wishes on the other.

Because great leaders are able to transform bold visions into reality through the implementation of planning and goal-setting, as a mentor you must also stress the importance of this skill, and work with your protégé on developing goals for themselves. A good way to do this is to guide them through the process of differentiating between wishes and workable goals. Early on, get a feel for what your mentoree hopes and dreams for. Have them transfer their dreams into workable goals, and write out a long term program with them to get there. With you there as an adviser and a guide, your mentoree will learn that visions truly can become reality, but only through long term planning, consistency and gradual steps.

Throughout the next few weeks I’ll continue to offer insight into the value of powerful leadership and mentoring, so stay tuned, and have a great week!

Reference

Kunich, John C. and Lester, Richard I. “Leadership and the Art of Mentoring: Tool Kit for the Time Machine.” Journal of Leadership 1-2: (2001) 118, 125, 126.

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