“A lot of people put pressure on themselves and think it will be way too hard for them to live out their dreams. Mentors are there to say, ‘Look, it’s not that tough. It’s not as hard as you think. Here are some guidelines and things I have gone through to get to where I am in my career.’”
– Joe Jonas
One of the key elements for the success of individuals is the mentorship that they get throughout their careers. A mentor helps an individual to aim higher and helps the individual achieve those not so easy goals. The success of individuals also accelerates the success of an organization. It’s a positive reinforcement loop that is about successful employees leading to higher organizational performance and better outcomes.
To be a good leader, one must be a good mentor first. If you are not associated with your employees on the root level, you may miss out on being a good leader. The importance of positive mentorship leading to successful leadership has increased so much that many organizations have programs for leadership development bolstering the importance of mentorship. But the efficacy of these programs is a big concern.
According to research from the Corporate Executive Board (CEB), “66% of companies invest in programs that aim to identify high-potential employees and help them advance, but only 24% of senior executives at those firms consider the programs to be a success.” The trusting states of individuals are not that bright and in addition to that with the changing work dynamics, it is crucial for organizations to have mentors that motivate individuals in tough times.
As a leader, it becomes a responsibility to understand a wider perspective, listen to your employees, and push them to the edge or sometimes down the edge so that they can learn to fly high. However, one cannot reach point C without passing point B. Here are a few mentorship essentials that propel on how you can reach the highest potential of your leadership and help individuals succeed in their careers.
Choose the Right Leadership Type
As per a blog on Wharton University, there are various types of leaderships:
- Authoritative Leadership- Confident, mission-oriented, lets individuals take the lead.
- Transactional Leadership- Task-oriented, clear-cut goals, rewards as well as punish individuals according to their performance.
- Servant Leadership- Works with individuals at all levels, makes the team stronger and derives the best outcomes, stays late, and works hard just like other individuals to support them.
- Democratic Leadership- For larger teams, emphasizes on transparency discusses different opinions to derive the best decision, collaborative.
- Empathetic Leadership- Emphasizes on emotional bond with individuals, focuses on individuals first, gives great support.
As per the size of the team, nature of work and individuals, work responsibility, the right leadership style should be chosen or mixed. The right leadership ten folds individuals’ effort and interest in working.
Constructive Feedback and Appreciation are Important
Constructive feedback is supportive feedback given to an individual so that he/she can improve. It is the bridge between how an individual currently works and how better he/she can work. When given with appropriate care and the intention of helping an individual reach the goals, constructive feedback becomes gems of wisdom.
A mentor knows the history of his/her team and their future goals, thus, constructive feedback given with compassion to individuals aids them in transforming into butterflies from cocoons. Sometimes the criticism can be tough to digest, but even doctors give bitter pills to help the patient get better.
Though along with criticism, appreciation is a must. Rewards, recognition, or even simple words of appreciation given to individuals let them have their moment. The new generation likes more social recognition or rewards as that makes them feel valued and seen. All of this mentorship potency helps them in raising their morale to work harder and become more responsible.
Helps in Being Decisive and Accountable to Boost the Confidence
A mentor helps in learning effective communication and create and maintain professional relations with individuals of different hierarchies in the market. By doing so, he/she eventually boosts the team members’ self-esteem; they learn new things, make mistakes, but in the end, gain better approaches to implement in the future.
A great leader does not only lead but lets the other take the lead. Leadership does not lie in doing everything perfectly on its own, but it is in delegating work effectively and letting the team feel responsible and accountable for the work done.
When a leader becomes a mentor and entrusts important tasks or projects to the team and gives the freedom to make decisions, it not only makes the team feel important but also inspires the individuals in the team to work with more dedication. After all, nothing can be better than your team members having enough confidence to take important calls on projects and behaving accountable for that, right?
Mentorship Provides Peaceful Work Culture Leading to Employee Satisfaction
Mental peace and healthy work culture are very important, as no one wants to go through work-life stress or management pressure on a day to day basis. Thus, a mentorship that provides a peaceful work environment, helps individuals to work with more focus and precision and gives work satisfaction.
A mentor leads by example. If a mentor wants the team to complete a crucial project by staying late, he/she should lead by staying with the team. Sometimes, leadership is not only essential to getting more things done, but also for having a healthy work-life balance because if employees feel exhausted all the time, the quality of work and the joy of working are going to reduce eventually.
For example, in many organizations, leaving the office on time is also seen as a sin, and overtime without additional pay is worshipped as a ritual. This is not only unjust but also inhuman towards employees. A mentor should emphasize more on having a good lifestyle outside the work as well. Eventually providing a safe space to work works like a wonder and achieves better results and employee retention rate.
Good Mentorship -> Credible Leadership -> Individuals Succeeding
There is a very famous quote by Denzel Washington, “Show me a successful individual and I’ll show you someone who had real positive influences in his or her life. I don’t care what you do for a living—if you do it well, I’m sure there was someone cheering you on or showing the way. A mentor.”
Some of the famous examples here are Warren Buffet and Bill Gates, Billy Solomon and Michel Bloomberg, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, the list goes on! Sometimes mentorship is not just about the work, a true mentor opens a lot of realms for the individual. There is a very captivating story in the case of Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg. In the early days of Facebook, the company was struggling, and to take some guidance, Mark visited Steve Jobs.
In the words of the Facebook founder, “I went and I met with Steve, and he said that to reconnect with what I believed was the mission of the company, I should go visit this temple in India that he had gone to early in the evolution of Apple when he was thinking about what he wanted his vision of the future to be.” This temple was Kainchi Dham located in Uttarakhand. That visit did let Mark Zuckerberg have the clarity on his vision and strategy to develop Facebook further; the rest is history!
Long story short, I believe the role of mentorship is so propelling that it transforms individuals in every way possible. From work ethics, work tactics, financing, way of operating, understanding and analyzing matters to having a disciplined lifestyle, reaching the goals, and a lot more; the importance of a mentor to achieve success is prominent and cannot be overlooked. When a leader becomes the mentor, it opens the door for moving out of the comfort zone and ticking the goals down as done.
Amit Kumar is an entrepreneur, a business leader and a speaker. He is currently the CEO of OLX Autos. Since his graduation, Amit went on to build multiple internet e-commerce ventures in Asia, Africa and Europe. He is a regular contributor on topics related to leadership, entrepreneurship and economics. He is passionate about human evolution and is a psychology geek. Find out more about him on his website.
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