Organisational mentorship has been on the rise in recent times. A mentor is essentially a leader who trains other leaders – providing them with the know-how to succeed. What this means is that mentors are individuals who teach a person how to fish as opposed to directly feeding them.
As such, mentorship may be considered the hallmark of effective leadership development. It has been reported that 9 out of 10 workers with a career mentor are satisfied with their jobs.
The unique bond between mentor and mentee serves as a learning experience for both parties. The first step to any successful mentorship is the acceptance of mutual respect, and trust. Additionally, the relationship has to be built on transparency, without distraction from ulterior motives.
The greatest mentors maintain a genuine interest in the development of their mentees. These individuals possess special qualities that enable them to serve as founts of wisdom and to provide an extra push when necessary. Here are some qualities of successful mentors in leadership development.
Mentors should always be there to motivate and never flatly put down a mentee’s suggestion or enthusiasm. They know that words matter.
Mentors should be carefully selected to bring out the best in the mentee’s unique perspectives and strengths. They should never groom their mentees according to their personal blueprint and ideologies. As such, there is no one-size-fits-all mentor figure and every individual should be careful to choose one who is attuned to their personal goals.
The best mentors believe in lifelong growth and development, which they encourage in their mentees. More importantly, great mentors are likely to lead by example through active participation in courses and seminars.
Mentors are strong advocates of skills development, having personally witnessed the ebb and flow of the industry and economy. They understand the importance of keeping up with the latest changes in the fast-paced Digital Age.
Former CEO of Pepsi, Indra Nooyi once shared, “Never stop learning. Whether you are an entry-level employee fresh from college or a CEO, you don’t know it all. Admitting this is not a sign of weakness. The strongest leaders are those who are lifelong students.”
The Power of Feedback
Great mentors understand the significance of constructive feedback serving as guideposts in the careers of their mentees. Professional feedback is based on respect and industrial expertise, aimed at bringing out the best in individuals.
According to Div Manickam, the director of marketing in IT firm Dell Bloomi, “listen, ask, and tell” has remained a mantra used in guiding mentees towards their own strengths.
Additionally, feedback should contain elements of goal-setting and evaluation to convert abstract ideas into actionable plans.
The art of mentorship and leadership development is meticulously improved across many years. Individuals are bound to experience major obstacles in their journey but once they emerge, they’ll become people-makers who have the extraordinary power to influence entire careers and the future of an organisation. We hope these qualities of successful mentors guides you in your journey of leadership development.
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