When we think of a mentor, we think of a leader who looks not just to accomplish his or her own goals, but also to cultivate and inspire action. During my tenure as a business leader and entrepreneur, I can confidently say that I would not be here today if it were not for the support and guidance of my own personal mentors. Today, many businesses and organizations look for their incoming employees to go above and beyond the standard day-to-day objectives. This requires them to take on larger projects and more challenges with very little preparation or support. Because of this problem, it is absolutely vital that you, as a business leader, are able to cultivate a strong foundational mentoring relationship with your employees. Even if it is just one, honing and perfecting that type of talent can be a huge game changer for your business.
Now, as an experienced manager and business leader, you yourself have a majority of initiatives within the day-to-day objectives that you need to handle. Taking on various complex jobs and task leaves you with very little time to spare. But to look at the overall bigger picture, the idea of helping and navigating younger employees to manage and perform more efficiently and effectively throughout the day can benefit you in a variety of ways. Just think about it; improving the skills of an employee can help nurture and promote a leader within the office. This in turn will provide you a new and necessary resource to help delegate operational task more smoothly and easily. Eventually, this causes a chain reaction where your leaders are continuously growing and developing talent each and every day.
So with that being said, one question comes to mind: How can you be an effective mentor as a business leader?
First and foremost, make sure you have the time to take on this type of project. Just holding the title as a mentor is not enough to make that necessary change within the work place. Instead, you need invest a certain amount of time and effort so that you can begin seeing transitive change within the office. In addition, be cognizant of the person you want to take on. For some business leaders, they take on the next ‘hot shot’ of the office. For others, they take on someone more similar to their background or mentality. Whatever is the case, make sure you have a reason for investing in that person. Understand your own personal benefit can be incredibly beneficial in developing this relationship.
Once you have picked your new prodigy, start off by listening to your mentee. Have them ask you questions about the work experience and what led you there. If that question did not jump out, then develop that line of communication. At times, the first interaction can be intimidation on their part. To help alleviate the situation, try and make them as comfortable as possible by asking them questions about their professional career and why they went to you.
After that first interaction comes the overall investment piece. Remember, a strong mentorship relies on a strong and timely interaction. Make sure there is an allotted time in your schedule to allow you guys to meet bi-weekly or monthly. During these meetings try and guide and counsel your mentee about the day-to-day operations. Even give them tips of how you were able to grow and develop your career. For these quick sessions, your mentee is usually looking to pick your brain about advice on specific issues. Allow them to speak candidly so that you can find viable solutions in guiding them to that path for success.
Last but not least, as a mentor, your job is to educate, motivate, and inspire. Like it or not, you are the teacher. Half of your job is to both impart knowledge and inspire change and action. To do this effectively, start by linking their goals and objectives within their career. Create a larger agenda of how they can accomplish that. Once that path is established, check in from time-to-time to make sure things are on the right path.
Now, the more you work together, the stronger your relationship will deepen. In fact, you will find out more about yourself as a leader than you initially knew, even as an entrepreneur. The main this is to not take things for granted. Who knows, that individual may be the next director or partner for your future ventures.