Building An Impactful Mentorship Relationship

I always wished someone had thought me what I know now, so I didn’t need to learn life and office politics the hard way.

Needless to say, mentors are hard to come by and it is difficult for women and minorities to find mentors in powerful positions.

However, achieving success without a mentor is possible but having one will definitively make your life easier.

Wondering how to score the perfect mentor or perfect mentee?

Building An Impactful Mentorship Relationship

What is mentorship?

Mentorship is usually the realization of leadership. It is similar to tutorship, to parenthood, to partnership, or to an alliance.

To simplify, mentorship is basically an often exclusive work relationship between two people who are willing to learn from each other and to grow with each other.

Furthermore, mentorship is built on reciprocity and commitment. It requires trust, loyalty, personal empowerment, respect, effective time management, and resistance to social pressures.

Most mentorship are informal and naturally happen in the workplace. However, they can take place in your personal life.

If you are looking for a mentor…

You have to be able to effectively manage yourself, to handle all responsibilities and to not self-sabotage.

Are you ready for mentorship?

To prepare yourself for mentorship and to make yourself attractive to a mentor, you must develop your skills and your character on your own:

  • Keep a positive attitude and be open to learn.
  • Have goals and ambition.
  • Learn to build relationships, to handle office politics, pressures and failures.
  • Humble demonstrate your character and your smarts.
  • Take calculated risks.

Benefits to having a mentor

Mentorship provides the mentee, the learner or the protégé with:

  • Insights into the corporate culture, sound advice and ongoing feedback.
  • Leadership skills and increased job performance.
  • An ability to adapt to change.
  • More independence, more experiences, more challenges, more success and opportunities for evolution.
  • Appropriate jobs and roles in regards to your strengths.
  • Increased visibility, access to responsibilities and high positions.
  • Higher pay.
  • Emotional support, emotional intelligence, self-awareness, higher self-esteem, better focus, stronger confidence.

How to find a mentor?

You must not wait to be chosen by a mentor: you should make the first move. To find a mentor:

  • Identify your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Identify your goals and make sure that they align with those of your future mentor.
  • Handle your career on your own, manage your own reputation, gain pertinent skills, work on yourself and on your goals first before seeking help.
  • Verify the role and status of the person of interest. The person must not necessarily be your supervisor, must not work at the same company or have the same position. Make sure that your mentor has exceptional skills, is well read, is self-aware and is always on the path of self-improvement.
  • Observe your mentor’s behavior and character to ensure that you will get along with them and look up to.
  • Test your mentor’s ability to handle work then ask for help.
  • Get to know your mentor on a personal level and keep in touch from time to time.
  • Seek understanding and accept mentorship influence.
  • Learn to keep secrets.

If you looking to be a mentor…

You must be willing to share your experiences, to be authentic, protective, fair, positive, patient and confident.

Mentors are motivators, are able to create strong relationships, are part of a powerful network, demonstrate exemplary leadership behavior, have influence, dedicate themselves to people, take risks, give sound advice, and give credit when it’s due.

Benefits to being a mentor

Being a mentor is rewarding and is an illustrious position. In a mentorship relationship, everyone benefits from each other’s success and brings equal goods to the table.

On one hand, mentors are able to share their life experiences, to share great work tips, to provide different perspectives, to retain the best employees and to improve the workplace. They can delegate work to a trusted employee, bridge the generational gap, get to work with different people and get more free time to themselves.

On another hand, without being part of your organization, mentees are able to positively impact the mentor’s image, reputation, forces them to sharpen their skills and to improve their work-life balance. Mentees keep their mentors in touch with their organization, up to date with their technical skills

Finally, mentorship is fulfilling because mentors are able to leave a legacy, to make their mark.

How to select a mentee?

The perfect mentee does not exist.

  • Be open to mentorship proposals early in life and early in your career
  • Observe if they have potential
  • Verify the mentee is curious, eager to learn and open to change
  • Verify that they are willing to put in the work

How to be a mentor?

To be the best mentor you can be:

  • Be a role-model.
  • Find out what you and your mentee want to achieve.
  • Set realistic expectations about the job and help them clarify their goals.
  • Find your most convenient mentorship and leadership style.
  • Know how to navigate most challenging situations.
  • Give support whenever you can, have an open door policy, respond to the needs and goals of your mentee.
  • Show appreciation and show that their opinions matter.
  • Give your mentee time to grow, time to commit and time to develop their skills.
  • Open up your network to the mentee and give direct access to success.
  • Don’t mold the mentee in your image and understand that they are their own person.
  • Incorporate mentoring programs in your organization if you can.
  • Let go of the mentee if your goals don’t align anymore and if the mentee has outgrown you.

 

Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!

Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.

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The Importance of Great Leadership

The Importance of Great LeadershipWhether it’s originated in our History or Culture, whether it’s from watching television or from frequenting our friends and family, we all have a clear picture in our minds of what great leadership is or should be.

We also have in mind which competencies and qualities are ideally associated to great leadership.

Wondering if that picture you nurture in your mind coincides with reality and what makes leadership so important?

What is great leadership?

Leadership is the ability to wheel power, to influence people positively in order to be successful, to bring like-minded individuals together towards a common goal or vision and to translate that vision into reality.

Influence allows leaders to gain consistent support for their views and opinions while building relationships with other individuals, groups or organization on a daily basis. It also helps leaders improve teamwork, and gain more credibility, and respect.

Furthermore, influence is used to win others over, to persuade and convince  without having to subject anyone to manipulation, force, command or control. It consists in a core competency in today’s workplace.

Why is leadership important?

Not everyone is a leader. Not everyone is given an opportunity to lead or not everyone has made the conscious decision to lead. Not everyone wants to be a leader because leadership requires time, knowledge, skills and emotional intelligence.

Some people are actually leaders but not in all aspects of their lives. At last, others leaders emerge later in life.

Moreover, the importance for leadership and the motivation for leadership go hand in hand.

Everybody is motivated differently by leadership: you can be motivated by a search for prestige, status, respect, deference, money, power, an increase in power of decision, a will to make the world a better place by servicing others, a strong desire to embody a vision and to bring that vision into reality.

In addition, without great leadership, chaos flares up.

The key competencies for great leadership

Leadership competenciesI believe that the nine competencies below are the foundation of great contemporaneous leadership:

  1. Demonstrating integrity and instilling trust in employees. Leaders must be capable of being responsible and accountable, of becoming an exemplar of wanted behaviors and values, treating others with respect, of doing the right thing, of walking the walk and walking the talk. According to Warren Bennis, “there is no difference between becoming an effective leader and becoming a fully integrated human being”.
  2. Learning continuously to be able to deal with personal and organizational complexities, to grow and become more effective, and finally to challenge the status quo.
  3. Share vision to inspire has purpose. A vision is what you want to create, to embody and achieve as a leader. The leader’s vision has everything to do with his or her purpose and is often reflected in his or her behavior.
  4. Thinking and acting innovation. Remarkable leaders know how to champion, plan and implement change successfully. .
  5. Possessing good decision-making skills. Leaders are able to identify problems and find solutions, and measure the outcome of those solutions.
  6. Maintaining strong communication skills. Leaders must be good speakers as well as good and active listeners. Communication skills increase the leader’s influence in the workplace. The best way to showcase your communication skills is to:
    • delay your speech, analyze your audience by getting to know their background, situation, history, values, enhance your rhetoric and work on the delivery of your speech.
    • describe the situation you want to change, its impacts and its solutions.
    • ask for other people input by professional courtesy and be open for discussion.
  7. Developing emotional intelligence. Exceptional leaders get to know themselves before getting to know others, lead themselves before leading others, use their emotions at work but don’t let their emotions use them.
  8. Building healthy relationships and connecting with your followers. Indeed, outstanding leaders hold your employees to a higher standard, with higher expectations with the belief that their employees can meet them. They also provide feedback, invest in their employees personal strengths, value collaboration and team work in order to connect to your workforce.
  9. Developing others by mentoring and coaching them in order to sustain high performance employees, to train them for leadership positions and to strengthen employees weaknesses and to help “difficult” employees to fit into the corporate culture. A great leader is a catalyst, facilitator that allow each member of the team to shine. By then, employees commitment and productivity will be increased. Tom Rath and Barry Conchie (2009) said it right in Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow: “Perhaps the ultimate test of a leader is not what you are able to do in the here and now – but instead what continues to grow long after you’re gone.”.

The skills of leaders are transferable to every aspect or role of their lives: they are applicable to their community, neighborhood.

Acquiring all those skills all at once are not realistic: a leader must assess his or her strengths and weaknesses to know which competencies he or she already possess and which competencies to develop first.

Are you currently viewed as a potential leader?

You are viewed as a potential leader if:

  • people regularly come to you for advice, for brainstorming or problem solving,
  • you are progressively given more responsibility on a project by your boss,
  • your boss asks for your opinion on a subject matter before an “above your pay grade” meeting
  • or you are included in your coworkers social activities.

If you are not being perceived as a leader, start with these small steps:

  • Respect the company’s culture, work protocols and procedures and perform well.
  • Offer your help when there is extra work to do in the office. This will show that you are ready to roll up your sleeves for the success of the project, to apply yourself effectively without complaining.
  • Volunteer outside of work. This will allow you to test your leadership skills, to inquire whether leadership is made for you or not, to learn new skills and mostly to make mistakes with less consequence to your career.
  • Read or write articles about leadership development and take courses to increase your knowledge about leadership.
  • Cultivate your strengths and be aware of your weaknesses.

Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!

Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.