Over the last couple of blogs, we have been discussing your responsibility in developing the skills of your people. Now we can start to talk about developing your skills and providing you with the support you are going to need to lead your team to success. Very few of us manage to be successful on our own. The vast majority of us need the support and guidance of people we trust and respect. This is why many of the great leaders have openly talked about their mentors and the benefits they have gained from such strong relationships.
So what are the benefits of having an effective mentoring relationship?
According to an article I read recently, 3 Reasons All Great Leaders have mentors (and mentees), by Brian Rashid, there are three very clear benefits of creating a strong mentoring relationship with someone you trust.
Those benefits are:
Mentors have the ability to challenge us and take us outside our comfort zones. Rashid suggests there are a number of characteristics that mentors display with the main three being that of challenger, coach or cheerleader. When searching for a mentor, we need to understand clearly what it is that we are seeking from the relationship and then base our selection of the mentor on our needs at that time.
Give and receive feedback
Are we really ready for some honest and confronting feedback? By taking on a mentor, we are actively seeking feedback on a regular basis. This means we will need to learn how to accept feedback that can at times seem like criticism. We will need to see the feedback for what it is, honest and constructive feedback aimed at helping us get better. Getting better at accepting feedback will also help us get better at giving feedback in a constructive and respectful manner.
Effective mentors often become confidants. Mentors can provide a relationship where both partners trust each other which in turn is proven to reduce stress levels. They create an environment where we can unload our problems without fear of being judged. They actively listen to us, guide us and readily tell us when we are being a little precious. They are trusted colleagues who provide the support we need, when we need it.
There are many benefits in having a mentor (and being a mentor). Forming a trusting partnership can be hard work and take time and emotional energy. But when the relationship is done the right way, it can have a massive impact on your leadership capabilities and your own health. Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo says ‘If I hadn't had mentors, I wouldn't be here today. I'm a product of great mentoring, great coaching...’
Are you ready to find your own mentor?