Mentoring is Caring About People
A mentor is a person who is armed with the knowledge, experience, and skills of a specific field who is willing, available, and able to share the vast trove of information with another individual.
Mentors need not be older, of higher job position, or have longer years of experience in the organization. The main requirements of mentoring is the sharing of the knowledge, the skills, and experience with someone who needs them. In most cases, it is not the knowledge that is important but the experience – how that knowledge is applied – that matters in mentoring.
Mentoring allows a person access, under the direction of the mentor, to valuable guidance and experience. In a mentoring relationship, workers learn by doing things, by practicing what they are learning. Mentoring prevents workers from committing the same mistake that someone else has already made. It gives people different perspectives on a problem or a project.
Advantages to the Organization
Mentoring allows individuals with the necessary skills or competencies to help and develop others. These are the same skills and competencies that management oftentimes looks for in its leadership.
Many individuals in an organization are content to be subordinates, as they do not want to assume managerial responsibilities. Even without taking the managerial or supervisory role in the organization, these skilled and competent employees can satisfy management’s need for leadership through a mentoring relationship with fellow employees. The organization’s pool of talented and skilled employees will expand, giving management a bigger pool to draw potential managers and leaders.
Typically, an individual only assumes mentoring roles after getting the title of manager or supervisor, a reactive mode of utilizing their skills and competencies. The organization must encourage their employees to take the proactive approach to mentoring which means that anybody with skills and competencies must be willing to share the same with other members of the group. Proactivity is much more beneficial to the organization as a whole.
Many organizations have slashed their training budget due to financial constraints, preventing employees from acquiring new knowledge and skills. Many organizations have discovered that mentoring is a very cost-effective and highly efficient tool for developing its employees. There is always a wealth of talent and knowledge within the organization and management can tap into that knowledge and make it available to other employees that need it – through mentoring.
Connecting with People
Mentoring allows the mentor to connect with people on a deeper and more personal level. Sharing one’s knowledge and experience by helping another person grow creates a different level of relationship. A manager who will mentor his or her employees will be viewed as a trusted source and ally.
Through mentoring, a manager can improve the employee’s productivity by encouraging them to ask questions. If not a natural skill, managers must learn to ask questions and talk to people in order to run their team productively and efficiently.
When both manager and employee stop asking questions, they stop learning. Great questions provide a forum in which team members can learn, grow and connect with one another. Mentoring can be the foundation.
As a self-professed “manager from hell,” Steve Caldwell learned through the hard knocks of making mistakes while building a career. Today he serves as a leadership coach, mentor and role model guiding high achieving managers to become the strong leaders their companies, employees and the world needs. He is also author of the book Manager Mojo – Be the Leader that Others Want to Follow (available on Amazon).
“In all arenas, we suffer from a lack of leadership talent,” Steve observes. “Every day employees are promoted into management with no training or support to guide their development into leadership positions. You don’t have to be born to lead. You can learn to lead.” He can be reached by email at Steve@ManagerMojo.com or by phone at (415) 670*9543.