Sunday, August 9, 2009

Helping Others – and Yourself – Grow

Weekly tips to help you and your colleagues become more effective and respected leaders.

Helping Others – and Yourself – Grow
Through Mentoring

Men-tor n. A wise and trusted counselor or teacher.

Looking for a way to help your people develop, grow, and improve their performance? Like to do the same for yourself? If so, you need to try MENTORING. If ever there was a “win-win” process, this is it!

By definition, mentoring is a relationship between an experienced person and a less experienced person for the purpose of helping the individual with less experience learn and grow. Mentoring is a great way to serve your people … and yourself. As team members develop in both knowledge and skills, their performance naturally improves. When that happens, everyone wins. And you’ll find that YOU grow by mentoring, as well. As you reflect on your life experiences and distill them into nuggets to share with others, you “re-experience” the wisdom that’s inside of you. What’s wrong with that picture? NOTHING!

So, consider adding mentoring to your leadership strategies. And as you do, keep the following in mind:

All mentoring relationships need to focus on the people being mentored. Remember that it’s not about you – it’s about them. Accept them for who they are. Help them advance at their own place.

Avoid treating people you are mentoring as incompetent or incapable. Rather, think of them as individuals lacking in experience … valuable team members who need guidance. And don’t forget where YOU came from. Earlier in your career, you didn’t know what you know now. Why should they?

Don’t criticize or belittle. Instead, help “mentorees” think through the consequences of their behavior and to identify more positive ways of handling difficult or troubling situations. And, by all means, hold the people you are mentoring responsible for their success. Be willing to give of yourself and your time, but insist that they do the same.

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