This is the final post in the series Becoming That Leader Others Wish They Were. In this post we will discuss developing your people and mentoring them. You can read the other posts in this series here, here and here.
Develop your people and mentor them
When one of my all-time favorite managers transitioned out of our company earlier on this year, I remember mentioning during his farewell breakfast how he could frustrate me at times. He always questioned the work that I presented to him and having me redo it. This initially would make me feel like nothing I could have done was good enough for him. What I didn’t realize at the time was that he probably saw something in me and was challenging me to realize it for myself. What I realize now is that the questions he always asked me when I presented any piece of work have actually elevated the quality of work that I present to date.
Great leaders recognize that their responsibility includes guiding his/her team to new levels or greater heights. He sees the potential in people and challenges them to realize it. She intentionally influences and develops her reports. They upset the status quo. But most of all, they help to grow you.
How then can a leader intentionally grow and mentor those who they lead? There are three simple things he or she can do:
- Share knowledge: “Knowledge is power,” so the adage goes. As a leader, you probably have more knowledge and information that your reports. To help your team grow, you must hsare this knowledge and information. You must communicate regularly. Encourage your team to seek knowledge and to share it with each other.
- Model characteristics you’d like them to have: Character cannot be taught but it can be modeled. An individual, more often than not, is only as good as their manager. The realization that your character will determine the kind of individuals who work with you should spur you to model the kind of behavior that aligns with the company values as well as your personal values.
- Give them opportunities: Many times your reports are looking for an opportunity to prove themselves or to embrace a challenge that helps them develop. Be the kind of leader that is keen to identify these opportunities (including leadership opportunities) and present them to your team. Allow them to be challenged and make mistakes (within reason and stepping in when necessary). The more opportunities that are presented, the more you create leaders in your team.
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