Senior leadership in almost any business environment requires a specific skillset ⏤ and being a charismatic and caring mentor is one them. A great mentor can inspire, motivate, and promote a work environment where people want to work together.
If you are a current or aspiring mentor, read on for how to be the leader your business needs to succeed.
Be Willing to Share Your Skills
It’s no secret that sharing is caring. And let’s face it, “hoarding” is not an attractive quality — period. Skills-sharing offers a means of establishing expectations and encouraging your mentee to take initiative and feel empowered to move forward with projects/tasks.
When knowledge is properly transferred among team members or from mentor to mentee, awareness increases and performance expectations become clearly defined. By fostering a culture of knowledge-sharing you’ll inevitably enhance overall team efficiency as well. With all team members operating from the same ‘playbook’ so-to-speak, a natural synergy will take over and response time internally, and toward your clients will improve. And beyond the company gains that result from knowledge sharing, on a humanistic level, sharing renders a feeling of inclusion and belonging. Your mentee will be more inclined to share ideas or proactively create new strategies as a result of feeling truly valued and invested in the team’s mission.
When the female staffers in the Obama White House shared the notion of amplification as a means of encouraging participation, I took to the concept immediately with my own team members… and it works! As the staffers explained, with the “amplification” strategy, women in meetings repeated each other’s ideas, crediting the women who came up with them and forcing men to acknowledge that women had just as much to contribute. As it relates to shepherding your relationship with your mentee, amplification can similarly serve as a subtle way to help them find their voice and feel confident in vocalizing their opinions and ideas. Whether you take the initiative and “amplify” your mentee’s comment or encourage them to “amplify” a fellow colleague’s ideas, you’re signaling to your mentee that their ideas are valued and wanted. Even if they feel uncertain about the given topic or feel the need to have more data back up their opinion, amplification will force them to participate and become an active contributor to the unfolding conversation.
Pay Attention To Your Mentee’s Interests
In discovering your mentee’s or colleagues’ true passion, you can tap into a source of motivation that propels itself. By truly paying attention to who your mentee is as an individual, you’ll start to slowly pull back the curtain on who they are beyond just a “co-worker” or “direct report,” but as a unique person. Over time, this will build camaraderie and prove to be beneficial for all involved — as it will allow you to discover where your mentee’s true talents and strengths lie. This was you can help them build on heir talents, while also helping them to gain new skills along the way. As a result, drive and a sense of urgency become intrinsic.