8 Effective Ways to Mentor in a Leadership Role
“A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle” – James Keller
The leader as mentor and guide seeks to serve others, who will follow because trust and respect have been earned. Positive influence borne of leading by example reverberates through our businesses, promoting genuine, collaborative momentum.
Traditional leadership can be merged with this sense of service to advance an innovative approach to the role, which has historically held the danger of manifesting as the accumulation and exercise of blind power. In the information and digital age, modern leadership has shifted from controlling people and processes to empowering them.
In this hybrid model, the leader does not have influence solely due to imposed authority but as a result of sincere respect. So, what is mentor supposed to do? Leadership mentoring opens the door for both parties to experience life-long professional relationships, provides support as each individual grows, and fosters a growing network of success within our businesses.
1. Ask penetrating questions and spark curiosity
Open yourself to curiosity and inspire it in others by asking clever questions. Questions don’t need to have an answer but can be simply a tool of research, of finding deeper meaning and understanding.
You’ve acquired expertise and knowledge in your role, now is the time to share it with vigor and enthusiasm. Find stories that others can relate to, anecdotes, and other ways of sharing meaning. Everyone walks different ways to wisdom so adopt an exploratory approach.
2. Live the principles that you teach
The responsibility of teaching within a leadership role is performed through action. To mentor others in your role as leader, learn to live the principles that you teach. As a leader, you are uniquely positioned to guide others to achieve a common vision or goal, and as a mentor this is achieved through positive influence.
With a true commitment to your role and a conscious dedication to the principles that you advocate, your intentions are sure to be well received, and your influence genuine. Instead of seeking power, attention, or recognition, watch how an attitude of service radiates through your environment.
3. Cultivate a genuine desire to uplift others
By leading so that those you serve are able to discover and embrace their true potential, you are providing invaluable mentorship. The attitude and leadership set before the teams in our companies will guide their perspectives and actions. When you cultivate a genuine desire to uplift others, you encourage a cycle in which you coach teams that embrace their full potential, and the members of the teams are led to coach one another to do the same.
This is a positive feedback loop in which individuals are able to flourish to the best of their unique abilities and collaboration is a natural state, as each realized potential contributes to the whole.
4. Promote a collaborative work environment
Leadership is about what you inspire others to do, and the collective accomplishments that result. When you lead with a strong belief in what people are capable of individually and cooperatively, you support their growth as individuals as well as promote success on a wider scale.
The outdated model of rising to the top in a powerful position of dominance leads to destabilizing competition. When competition gives way to collaboration, the exploration of new frontiers becomes possible, as a network of thinkers and doers can incubate and birth the unexpected.
5. Practice consistent self-awareness
The ability to travel inwardly and take inventory of your internal environment enables you to progress on the outward journey of leading others. Be aware of the influence you are having on those around you and model kindness and compassion.
Make the effort to remember names and to be approachable. Be the person with an open door, open ears engaged in actively listening, and willing to help whenever you can. Know your limits and recognize those in others, as well as appreciating distinct strengths.
6. Provide the tools necessary to achieve success
It is your responsibility as leader and mentor to provide your teams with all the tools they’ll need to perform the job. Be proactive in anticipating all the necessary components and information they’ll require. In this way, they will be set up for autonomy and successful completion of any task at hand. We cannot expect others to know all the answers but we can set them up to successfully find them.
7. Be open to feedback and embrace honest critique
Be willing to integrate constructive feedback and support open dialogue. When you give feedback make sure that it is honest and direct. A culture of trust, with a focus on building strong and honest relationships, will allow for open communication, which may inspire novel questions or invoke investigation.
Welcome constructive criticism and scrutiny as a dynamic process of investigation and discovery. This openness to examination may lead down new paths. It is important to be flexible and remain open to these potential developments because no matter how much has been invested in one direction the potential of future favorable paths may appear.
8. Adopt a whole-systems approach
Each aspect of the dynamic whole is vital. The leader plays a key role, but so do the other players. Give them their respect due as the focus shifts from hierarchical and linear, to a web of influence, a more balanced approach between leading and following. With this approach, a partnership is developed in which the mentoring leader maintains the role because there are willing followers, and the relationship is mutually beneficial and rewarding.
To be a mentor in a leadership role is to keep an eye to the future and on the macrocosmic network. Remember that after one leader will come another and that it is your responsibility to enable this future succession, as well as foster the growth and full potential of the individuals in your sphere in their current position.
We hope you enjoyed our article about 8 effective ways to mentor in a leadership role. Make sure to check out our blog for other great and informative articles that you and others can surely benefit from.
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