As a leader of a team, the big cheese of the office, the manager of a project or the CEO of a multi national corporation people are the key to your success. Successful organizations have successful people at every level, from the mailroom to the boardroom. The mentors people adopt , knowing or unknowingly, and allow to speak into their lives, influence who and what they become over time.
Good leaders mentor employees to success. Here are 3 steps that can help you get started down the road of mentorship.
1. Spend time alone with your people.
Weather or not you’ve noticed, you are already mentoring. The team, employees, board members; they watch and observe your every move. Your dress, your non-verbal communication, even your comings and goings are mentally recorded and discussed. But they still do not know who you are. People need to place your actions, words and even dress in context. The only way to get context is if they truly know who you are. The only way for people to get to know you, and you them, is to spend time together. I suggest going to lunch or coffee or a stroll around the office building and talk. Talk about life, not just about business. This is a great opportunity to bring balance to your relationships. People love to talk about their family and lives outside of the office.
2. Share reasons and rationale for decisions.
As a department manager, director, or team-lead they are always a myriad of decisions to be made each and everyday. This is how business is conducted. Decisions spawn either negative or positive reactions. Decisions determine the future. So allowing your people behind the curtain of your mind and into your decision-making rationale is key to their growth. Think about how you were directly or indirectly mentored; key personal growth benchmarks were surrounded by good or bad decisions made. You must allow your people into your head. Let them hear the debate you’ve come to internalize when faced with a fork in the road. They will appreciate the candor and will not soon forget the lesson. Make a memory.
3. Don’t be afraid to hold people accountable.
You don’t have to be an electrician to know that, in order to have the power of electricity we need a positive and a negative wire. Talking positive is easy and while your people do need to hear your positive feedback they also need the negative. Personally, I know how hard this is for leaders. Oft times we want everyone to be happy; giving negative feedback is not popular but it is essential. Sharing something that he or she didn’t do quite well will most likely help your people more in the long run than a ton of positive feedback. Help your people. Tell the truth. Let them see that you have their best interest in mind; be fair and balanced.
What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us. What we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal. ~ Albert Pine
What you are doing is investing in the life of someone else; this will allow you, as Albert Pine says, a bit of immortality. As you invest in another, they take on a part of you. And you will build success one employee, team member, and one person at a time. It’s unavoidable.