Posts tagged mentor
Leading To Develop Other Leaders

I’ve said this many times before, successful organizations are successful because they have strong leadership. A true leader understands that in order for a business to sustain prosperity, one must take the time to cultivate its next set of leaders. However, most fail in doing so simply because they are more concerned with the training process that they overlook the importance of developing the individual as a whole. While training is still very much an important aspect to the best practices of an organization, development is what will enrich the culture. So to help develop your future leaders of tomorrow, you should:

Present a teachable point of view. 

Great leaders are also great teachers. They bring out the best in others by leading by example, and a teachable point of view is one way to do so. It is the foundation from which a leader’s perspective on what it takes to succeed is formed. Simply put, it is an executive’s approach to leadership and brings clarity to where an organization is going, and an understanding of how to get there.

Create a comprehensive in-house leadership program. 

Your company should institute an inclusive and diversified system that assesses and selects potential candidates for leadership positions. This should include programs that nurture and develop skills, as well as a way to measure the feat (or failure) of these platforms.

Rotate people through different jobs. 

The best way to learn is through experience. Expose your employees to different roles throughout the company. Not only will that challenge them in different areas, but they’ll gain a new perspective in the process; additionally taking potential leaders out of their comfort zones and pushing them past their skill level. Valuable lessons are also learned and through failure, an elevated level of confidence is attained.

Rotate leadership in meetings. 

Give them a chance to lead. With your support of course, sit back and observe. Let staff suggest ideas and encourage problem-solving and solutions. The same applies to interdepartmental meetings. Select a few employees to represent your department with the responsibility of reporting back all activities. Then, seek feedback and address concerns accordingly.

Set up mentoring programs. 

Mentorship plays a significant role in helping others reach their peak performance. A mentor can provide your staff with indispensable knowledge and the necessary attention needed to help take their career to the next level. Remember, No one breaks through the glass ceiling alone. Someone on the other side must reach back and pull them through.

Mentors & Sponsors: Do You Have Them?

One reality of professional life is, no one makes it to the top by themselves. To rise through the ranks and break the proverbial “glass ceiling,” two things must happen: First, you will need people to guide you along the way. Secondly, someone already on the other side of that glass ceiling has to see your value and pull you through! For the sake of simplicity Mentors are those who “guide” you through, and Sponsors are those who “pull” you through.

No matter how smart, good-looking, well dressed, or even hardworking you are, without the benefit of Mentors and Sponsors, your full career potential will not be realized. Mentors come in all shapes, sizes, and yes, even colors. Furthermore, there are various types of mentors. Organizational Mentors are those who help you understand the culture and political landscape of the company you work for. Organizational Mentors are essential when you are new to the organization as they can help you learn the do’s and dont’s of the culture. Situational Mentors are those who provide a unique skill that you need to develop. Perhaps you are weak when it comes to understanding financial concepts? In this case you would seek out someone who is a whiz in finance to help develop you in this area. Another key mentoring role is what I call the Wise Mentor. The Wise Mentor is typically someone who is outside of your organization, and has tremendous business maturity. They have “been there” and “seen that!”! These mentors serve as your sounding board. You share career dilemmas, ask for career advice, and basically utilize their wisdom to keep you on track.

Sponsors, on the other hand, serve one main purpose: to represent and recommend you for key roles, assignments and opportunities. The bad news is, while you may ask someone to mentor you, you can’t ask someone to sponsor you! In a nutshell, you choose your Mentors, but Sponsors have to choose you! This is key because the Sponsor is putting his or her reputation on the line whenever they recommend you. They will not run the risk of tarnishing their brand for someone they don’t have total confidence in. While you may not (be)able to ask to be sponsored, there are some things you can do to attract a Sponsor:

1.  Be a Consistent Performer: It’s not enough to have one good year at work, you need a track record of success. Potential Sponsors are always on the hunt for those who deliver consistent performance.

2.  Be Visible!: Know who the key leaders are in your organization and look for opportunities to rub elbows with them. Maybe at a company meeting, or company outing? No one will sponsor you, if they don’t KNOW you!

3.  Be a Team Player: Sponsors like to support those who are more focused on the organizations success, than their own. This doesn’t mean that your focus is all about the company. Rather, you should manage your brand in such a way that the perception is, you win when the organizations wins. Remember, there is no “I” in TEAM!

Finally, don’t limit yourself to seeking Mentors and Sponsors who look like you! Be open and willing to receive guidance, direction and support from anyone who is genuinely will to share it.