Leave a legacy by mentoring others.
Becoming unselfish with our life and learnings.
One of the most unselfish investments a leader can make is that of mentoring younger leaders.
Mentoring is all about taking people with potential and helping to expedite their growth through our sponsorship, attention, and leadership example. A proven leader can open doors of opportunity, understanding, and growth for a young leader that can dramatically accelerate their leadership trajectory.
In mentoring younger leaders, I have learned several lessons.
LESSON ONE | Seek potential leaders who are hungry for growth.
I look for potential for growth rather than experience every time. If someone has the “right potential,” and are “hungry for growth,” they can be formed and will grow more quickly than others. Don’t be afraid to mentor someone who others would not mentor but who have the raw potential.
LESSON TWO | Pay attention to the mentee’s emotional intelligence.
One of the keys to both leadership and growth is their emotional intelligence – a necessary quality if they are going to receive your honest feedback on their work and life. Poor emotional intelligence is often characterized by defensiveness which will keep an individual from receiving input, raw feedback, and thus the potential for growth.
LESSON THREE | Discover, develop, and build agility with the mentee’s gifts and talents.
Help the mentee understand their wiring. Mentoring is not about creating another “mini-me” but about helping the mentee understand how their wiring, strengths, gifts, and talents. Mentors should speed up the process of self-understanding and self-discovery.
LESSON FOUR | Use story-telling and dialogue as the means of mentoring.
Use dialogue more than instruction. Many mentors assume that mentoring is about knowing the right answer when it is far more about helping them find the correct answer on their own. Help the mentee learn by inviting them to think through issues and solve their problems. Ask questions, such as “How’s that working out for you?” It takes time but helping a young leader to think critically and well will be a key to their success. So rather than telling them the solution, ask the right question – and then dialogue. Give honest feedback at appropriate times and in the correct settings.
LESSON FIVE | Allow young mentees to fail.
Like it or not, we learn more from our failures than from our successes. Then practice “autopsy without shame,” so learning takes place without a feeling of failure. The most successful people have failed multiple times. As have I, and you.
LESSON SIX | Give mentee assignments, even small ones regularly.
Don’t allow mentees to get bored. Keep their plate full and give assignments that will stretch them. As a mentor you want these young leaders to realize their potential and skills.
LESSON SEVEN | Let them join you in meetings or into teachable moments.
Allow them to shadow you in appropriate settings so that they see what how you lead. Sometimes leadership is more caught than taught.
LESSON EIGHT | Be transparent.
Let them see the issues you face, how you deal with them and how you balance life and work. Where you can give them insight into hairy situations and how you are handling them so that they are exposed to real life in the real world. Of course, you want to ensure that there is appropriate confidentiality.
Mentoring is all about legacy. By building into others, we leverage the lessons of our leadership and pass them on to the next generation.
Vince Miller is a speaker, author, and mentor to men. He is an authentic and transparent leader who loves to communicate to audiences on the topics of mentorship, fathering, leadership and manhood. He has authored 13 books and small group curriculum for men and is the primary content creator of all Resolute materials. Contact Vince Miller here. His newest book is Thirty Virtues That Build A Man.