The Leader as Mentor
Mentoring can be a cost-effective way to support new staff, develop everyone in the team, and boost overall quality and performance. The word mentor pops up all the time when people tell us about the leaders they enjoy working with and admire. By embracing the mentoring role as a leader, it can really help to improve performance, build the culture and engagement you seek within a team and the wider organisation.
What is a mentor?
A mentor is usually experienced and knowledgeable in a particular field for which they can advise or instruct someone with less experience. Advice and problem solving is encouraged, with an emphasis on the individual taking the action, whilst the mentor takes more of a passive role, encouraging the mentee to understand their situation, explore different options, and make decisions. It enables personal and business growth, with learning and development along the way.
Build more Connections
When leaders take on a mentor role and encourage others to do so too, it helps to build more connections around the organisation. You may be mentoring someone who is within your team, or perhaps another team in the organisation, at the same level or a level below. Whatever the situation, it helps to build connections and relationships, not only between the mentor and the people supported, but throughout the wider organisation. They will in turn talk to others about their connection with you, adding to the wider benefit.
Why not proactively seek to pair up team members who might not already know each other, but who could be mutually beneficial to each other in working towards objectives.
Better Alignment with Goals
When you are mentoring someone as a leader, you can guide and help them to understand what the organisation is trying to do on a wider scale. If an individual has a better understanding of their own role within the organisation as a whole, it will help them understand the context of their work and the value of their contribution. That could be really motivating.
Insight for Informed Decision Making
It’s good to talk! Even better when we listen. A mentoring role will give you the opportunity to hear other perspectives and how the organisation or an initiative might work from the viewpoint of someone you mentor. This can be eye-opening, giving you a better insight to inform your own decisions, without going full Undercover Boss! From the rich conversations in a mentoring relationship, you can learn to understand why people do what they do, and discover bottom-up opportunities to increase productivity, communication and processes.
Everyone wins when mentoring is done well, and as part of other development activities. It can perpetuate your positive culture as well as shed light on areas for improvement. So look out for mentoring opportunities. Taking on the role may give you new and different experiences to learn from, ideas to improve your organisation, and of course the chance to help someone else.
If you would like to find out more about mentoring, or join our mentoring qualification programme, get in touch.