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Be a Mentor – Rich’s Rules for Achievement # 12

October 13, 2015

Rich's Rules TitlecardFor any organization, community or nation to stay viable, someone must be grooming tomorrow’s leaders today.  If you are a leader, that someone is you. And your means of doing so is through mentoring.   Being a good mentor doesn’t mean having excessive interaction with your mentee. It doesn’t mean you are to going to get overly involved in his/her affairs. It does mean that you lead by example and are seen as a model of character, credibility, competence and communication.  A mentor teaches by example.

You and the person you mentor can decide what sort of relationship you will create. Remember that there  also people who look to you as a “mentor” without you realizing it. All the more reason to take your role as leader responsibly.

Points of Consideration

Being Respected Vs. Being Liked

Depending on your personality, you may have a need to be more respected or more liked.  When mentoring younger people it’s important that you are personable enough to signal you like them, care about them and are willing to help them.  At the same time, some important things young people need to learn include responsibility, a strong work ethic and the understanding that entitlement and narcissism don’t fly in the workplace.  To truly help the person develop as a productive member of society, you’ll need to hold them accountable and be willing to plainly tell them the truth when they are off track or out of bounds in their words and actions.  They may not like it, but they will respect you – eventually. And if they don’t – it is not a personal failing on your part. It is about their character. There are some things you cannot change.

Being a Sounding Board

Being available to your mentees for questions, conversations or to listen to frustrations goes with the territory.  When acting as a sounding board, your role is not to tell the person what to do.  Your part is to listen so they can express what they are experiencing. You want the mentee to process the challenge or failure and come to his or her own conclusions about what to do – if anything.  At most you can share your own experience or make the individual aware of options they hadn’t considered.  But, ultimately, your role is to guide and not direct, support, but not state, the right choice.  Simply directing the person’s life does not help them grow into being an independent thinker or leader.

Using Bad Example Moments to Teach

Everyone has bad moments.  That time when you said the wrong thing, took the wrong action, made a bad choice.  When a mentee sees you make mistakes it is one thing.  When he or she witnesses you denying, blaming or failing to take responsibility, it’s another.  One way to help your mentee become responsible is to show them it’s reality to make mistakes, and it’s OK – in fact beneficial – to accept, acknowledge and apologize for them.  Real life includes taking ownership of mistakes, learning from them and moving forward with lessons learned.

For this reason, Be a Mentor is Rich’s Rule of Achievement # 12.

Click to purchase Part 1 of Rich’s Rules of Leadership

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