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Mentor Leadership

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How mentors can develop great leaders both in work and life

Mentoring others does not always come naturally to many of us and I would like to share some experiences that have helped me to focus and become better as a coach and mentor to others. As most of you, who we've had the pleasure of developing relationships with over these almost 20 years, know by now, we love to facilitate processes that help teams, groups, staff members, executive leaders and individuals to develop into coaches, mentors, and leaders. It is our passion to help others learn and develop their skills and behaviors in order to excel in their positions and to promote to higher levels of leadership. I strongly believe each and every one of us has leadership qualities and I’d like to give you my thoughts on why I think this way.

Back when I was a child, my Dad and Mom were big influences in my life. I had other adults I looked up to as well and I couldn't help but pick up on some really good qualities from each of them. I didn't even realize I was paying attention or that I was aware I was behaving as a sort of coach or mentor all these years. It wasn't until my husband decided that he wanted to start a consulting business about leadership and "people development" that I recognized some qualities that resonated with working in this business. I also decided that, with the help of my husband, we set good examples for our children and they are productive leaders in their own right.

When the opportunities arose, I decided to educate myself on the latest technology of coaching, mentoring, personal organization, team building, and leadership workshops. The learning has been phenomenal and I don't ever want to stop learning about what makes a great leader...a top-level leader who has influence, yet remains humble, approachable, and continues to develop leaders.

This article is one of five about mentoring and leadership that I'd like to write about and I hope they will be informative and serve you well in your career as a mentor and leader.

Manage / Engage / Negotiate / Teach / Organize / Reach = MENTOR

Let's start with Manage for this article. Managing the work in your area or department is always good and is very helpful to your team and staff members and especially your organization. Thinking beyond the work is the people equation. The people who do the work need to be nurtured, taught, accepted, respected, and productive. There are very important people issues to manage and mentoring is the way to manage at a higher level. Here are some tips that are proven to work as a mentor and leader managing their people:

  • Get to know your employees and build relationships with your team, staff, peers and leaders in your organization. These relationships build trust and this trust facilitates communication, improves quality and enhances lives.
  • Listen and really HEAR when others are talking to you because there may be important things that come out of every conversation or something to learn from them. Many people consider themselves good listeners and we agree. But, do they hear?
  • Be an approachable person who has good body language and is courteous to others, even under stressful situations. Civility in our society seems sometimes to have been replaced with productivity. "I'm too busy" is our watch words. Be that person that others want to approach and you will find your influence increasing and your work and life easier. It is also what your Mom would want.
  • Make sure you are aware of your behaviors because everyone is watching you and the more you exhibit good behaviors, the better people will learn from you and will want to. Being "on" is not what we mean. Being authentic is better and most people resonate with authentic people.
  • Invite yourself to learn the latest technologies of coaching and leadership and allow yourself to be coached and mentored. Covey's seventh habit that he wrote about is "Sharpen the Saw&aquot; and, while it was written over 25 years ago, it is still and always will be true. Everyday learn, teach, share, and enjoy the curious world we live in.
  • Be a good resource to others who seek your help. Seems like more and more our best resource is our availability. If you set people as your priority, you will find yourself being more available.
  • Invite feedback to learn what others are thinking and feeling, even if it's about you. Wouldn't you like to have a nickel for every time you heard this statement: "If I only knew, I would have done something?" Ask the right questions and you will get the right answers to help yourself and others. You will also improve your credibility alone the way.
  • Think of feedback as a gift and help others to give feedback in a respectful way. While this sounds a little like the statement above, what it means is to expect others to seek feedback also. If you do, people will follow your lead.
  • Think of who you are as a mentor and leader, rather than what you do as a mentor and leader. Mentoring and leadership are not just jobs and responsibilities, they are gifts. If you had the gift of a leading concert pianist, would you think of it as a job or a gift? It is exactly the same thing and it is your responsibility to share your gifts.
  • Share your values with your staff or team because they are the soul of your leadership and drive your behaviors. People want to know! Yes they really do. We all want to follow people who have values.
  • Recognize your employees' strengths and challenges and help them to grow to their potential. It is estimated that people utilize between 40% and 60% of their true potential on the job. Right now you are thinking of your 40% folks. What if everyone gave you at least 60% all the time? The truth is that they want to give it all to us. We need to learn how to ask.
  • Be fair with the people who work for you, allow mistakes and encourage learning once they are made. Why the obsession with perfection? Excellence is available, which is much easier than perfection and adds value to lives and organizations.
  • Think of your leadership position as a calling to promote other leaders and to model good practices. This means that you not only have a responsibility to lead your people, you also have that same responsibility to provide an example to other leaders.
  • Ask yourself: Am I doing the right things for the right reasons as a mentor and leader? Have I created an environment of trust and respect? And, what kinds of goals will be good for me as a mentor and leader? It is important to answer these three questions.

Once you are more comfortable with mentoring others, you will be ready for to Engage your talents as a mentor, which I will write about in our next newsletter.

Here's a quote from T.S. Eliot: "Half of the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important...They do not mean to do harm...They are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.'

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lorraine

Lorraine Twombly
Priority Learning
Co-Owner


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