Mentoring | BridgeBetween.com

Why Mentoring Can Be One of the Keys To Success

Within a company, the mentorship process can help foster communication, build bonds and increase the motivation of the mentor and the mentee!

Intra-company mentoring is probably one of the most underutilized processes out there but the benefits of having experienced employees mentor new or less experienced ones are numerous.

Here are four reasons why mentoring can be one of the keys to success:

  1. Increased motivation and morale
  2. Retention levels improved through effective career development
  3. Improved connection to company mission and values
  4. Improved corporate culture

What are the specific benefits for the mentee?

Mentees are typically people who are new to a company, though they could be long-standing employees who have moved up the ranks and are now entering an area that they aren’t particularly familiar with.

A mentee can be more confident in their role more quickly if they have support from a mentor. Mentors can help mentees by:

  • Providing a range of information, drawing from their own experience, that a mentee would never acquire by reading the company handbook or even shadowing another employee.
  • Being a source of objective information and support, something a manager cannot be.
  • Sharing all of the ins and outs of the department and the company as a whole that aren’t obvious from the outside and sharing details about the corporate culture and how things run — thereby helping the mentee to avoid any unnecessary stumbles.

Further, there are always skills that aren’t in the functional job description but that are nonetheless important to get the job done. It’s these more esoteric details that a mentor can provide, in a positive and supportive framework.

What are the specific benefits for the mentor?

There are several benefits for mentors. Here are some examples:

  • Mentors can achieve a superior level of personal growth by helping a colleague and becoming their support network. Helping others is a key factor in obtaining satisfaction, both personally and professionally.
  • A mentor, while more experienced at the company, likely has room to grow themselves—everyone does! So, the mentor experience will help them to increase their own knowledge base. By helping someone learn the ins and outs of the company, they are re-acquainting themselves with many processes and standards. It’s not always easy to admit that there are things one doesn’t know but it’s a healthy situation when teacher and student are both learning.
  • Softer skills that are important in a leadership role are honed by becoming a mentor: active listening, giving feedback, picking up nonverbal cues, and so on.
  • Mentoring a new employee might also help a person who has been with the company for a long time to feel rejuvenated about their role in the company. Being a subject matter expert is a wonderful thing; being able to share that knowledge with others is even better.

Is there an ideal type of company that could use mentoring?

Not at all. That said, companies that operate with strong departmental silos and little in the way of interdepartmental communication could benefit more than any others from implementing a mentoring program.

Breaking down those silos and opening up lines of communication is a major step in creating a functional workflow for any project. Mentors can help make this happen within a project or for the company as a whole.

Are there pitfalls to mentoring?

If it has one flaw, intra-company mentoring doesn’t always lend itself to creating safe spaces for people to share concerns or complaints. It’s important that mentees do not report to their mentor and that the latter have no responsibility to evaluate the mentee or to the person who does conduct those evaluations.

With this off the table, it opens the door for more frank discussion and a productive relationship.

 

Starting a mentoring program is not difficult but sometimes it’s made easier by the participation of a neutral third party with strong experience in building mentoring programs. From the initial consultation to the final implementation, Bridge Between can assist any company to connect potential to performance!

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develop leaders, not more followers Shannon Cassidy

Develop Leaders, Not More Followers

 

Besides the celebration, what happens if you get a promotion? What if you need to leave your company for some reason or you find yourself called to a different path in life? If any of these occur, what happens to your team? A great leader is always on the lookout for people they can teach and mentor. They search not for more followers but for potential leaders who can replace them. They develop leaders, not more followers.

So how do you develop another you? Another great leader? Begin with these four methods.

Give them experiences tailored to leadership.

As a manager or leader, you have certain tasks that are not required of anyone but you. Find ways that your potential leaders can gain experience in those areas. If you make a presentation once a month, allow your mentee to try her hand at it. As you develop their leadership skills, watch for unique talents they can apply to managing. Look for skills that you didn’t use because you didn’t have that talent. Allow them to see behind the curtain and try their hand at the parts of your position that are invisible to most.

Teach them to network.

Networking events can be painful and awkward, but great leaders jump in and do the work no matter how they feel. Teach your candidates how to network by having them follow you and watch how you initiate conversations. After they’ve witnessed your techniques for a while, they will be equipped to network independently. Networking is extremely valuable no matter the job. Giving your mentee the chance to cultivate abilities and confidence in networking is vital to the future of your company. As they progress into leadership roles, they’ll already have contacts and people skills.

Allow them to fail.

E.M Forster said, “Spoon feeding in the long run teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon.”

It is highly beneficial for your leaders-in-training to fail, so you need to give them that chance. Push them to figure out problems on their own and then allow them to act on the wrong solution. Micromanaging will not teach your candidates how to stand on their own when they move into the leadership role. Of course, this doesn’t mean allowing their failures to affect the company while you just watch. But little by little, allow your leaders-in-training more responsibility.

Trust them to lead.

Just as it is difficult to watch your child leave your nest, it is a hard decision to allow your leader-in-training to leave your watchful eyes to lead independently. In order to complete the development of a leader, you must take your hands off the result. Think about it: If you teach your leader-in-training how to make smart, informed decisions, but still require that they run every idea by you before they’re allowed to make a move, how empowered will they feel?

Begin now to look around and select employees that you see have potential for leadership. If you do leave your company or your current position, you will have a succession plan in place for continued growth without you.

Leaders develop more leaders.

 

Sources:

http://guides.wsj.com/management/managing-your-people/how-to-develop-future-leaders/

http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/stories/2010-02-16/how-companies-develop-great-leadersbusinessweek-business-news-stock-market-and-financial-advice

http://www.forbes.com/sites/dailymuse/2013/06/25/5-strategies-that-will-turn-your-employees-into-leaders/

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How to Lead People

Being Human: How to Lead People

Your organization has sent you to leadership training and nurtured you through their fast track program. You know the disciplinary policy like the back of your hand and the you could recite state labor laws in your sleep. While these things are important to know and understand, the true foundation of effective leadership lies in inherent human qualities. In simple, great leadership boils down to being human.

Be Honest

Good leaders are honest with their employees, clients, and managers. They own their mistakes and oversights and actively work toward a solution. They don’t say anything behind an employee’s back that they haven’t said to the employee’s face. Their subordinates respect their honesty and trust their words. Sugar coating performance deficits causes confusion for the employee and fails to promote success. Be honest.

Be Friendly

Employees who connect with their leaders are more likely to respect and follow their leaders and feel satisfied in their role. Take time to learn about your employees’ families and hobbies; they make wonderful friendly talking points. A simple, “Good morning, Shirley! How did Bob’s appointment go yesterday?” goes a long way. Always take a moment to establish eye contact and make a connection.

Be Real

Show your employees that you are a real person not so different from themselves. Laugh at work often and smile whenever you can. Let your employees into your life a little by sharing information about your family and hobbies. Leaders who are real with their employees are more approachable, and therefore receive more valuable feedback and suggestions.

Be Supportive

Good leaders are those who are supportive of their employee’s ambitions and goals. Support each employee in their role, assist individuals in understanding the value of their contributions to the organization, and encourage every employee to pursue in-house positions that interest them. Take time to discuss an employee’s career planning so you can work to keep the best in the organization. Identify leaders early and share your plans for their advancement in the organization.

Be Empathetic

Experience in the leadership industry can harden even the most compassionate of hearts. However, a leader should go to great lengths to see every employee as a human being, take every concern seriously, and genuinely empathize with the employee expressing his or her dissatisfaction. Furthermore, the effective leader shows empathy with the grieving employee and encourages as much family time as possible.

Be Rewarding

Statistics show that employee satisfaction increases more when non-monetary rather than monetary rewards are issued. Commit to complimenting a minimum of three employees daily on their performance. Telling the janitorial staff, “It sure looks great in here! Thanks for the hard work!” or your administrative assistant, “Thanks for keeping such an organized schedule!” takes mere moments but their effects are lasting.

Be Open Minded

Be willing to consider the viewpoints of others and entertain new ideas or suggestions. Good leaders understand the value in new and differing opinions. Furthermore, employees respect and value a leader who is open to their thoughts and opinions and who considers them seriously.

Be Inspiring

An effective leader shows employees what he or she expects of them by displaying the same commitment and drive every day. A leader’s boots should be the first to hit the ground and the last to leave. Policy should be followed fervently and eagerly. Strides should be taken every day in the direction of success and advancement of the organization.

In conclusion, a good leader requires some textbook knowledge but an abundance of quality characteristics. A good leadership mantra is, “Always do the right thing.”

 

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