| February 2024 |

Developing Emerging Leaders

Mastering the Art of Interviews Strategies - Empowered Decision

The role of Leadership is to identify, support, develop and encourage new mentors

WRITTEN BY: Michelle White

One of my favourite components of leadership is being involved in the development of new mentors and leaders. I could not put my hand up quickly enough when recently invited by a client to structure a customised mentorship program for a few individuals identified as future leaders.

The individuals have demonstrated qualities such as initiative, adaptability, grit and resilience, a strong work ethic, and a willingness to learn – qualities encouraged by the company as strong leadership values. In a discussion, they enthusiastically expressed their desire to take on new challenges, own team projects and seek opportunities to grow.

They had recently been encouraged to take on stretch assignments and projects that challenged their skills and expanded their knowledge. These outcomes greatly improved their confidence, belief and courage.

In discussing our role as leaders and mentees, in their leadership development, we have framed our responsibility and clarified our support:

1. Embracing Failure as a Stepping Stone to Success
One of the most critical aspects of effective career and leadership mentoring is the encouragement of failure. Many successful individuals have stumbled and fallen on their paths to success. Our mentorship will provide a safe space for mentees to take risks and learn from their failures. We will inspire our mentees to embrace failure as a valuable learning experience rather than a setback. When mistakes are reframed as opportunities for growth, individuals can develop resilience, problem-solving skills, and the courage to innovate.

2. Courage to Try with No Backlash
In nurturing our mentor-mentee relationship, mentees should feel safe to experiment and take calculated risks without the fear of backlash or judgment. Effective mentors create an environment where open and honest communication thrives. We will encourage our mentees to step out of their comfort zones, offering support and constructive feedback. Knowing they have a mentor to lean on, this courage to try new things can lead to breakthroughs and personal development.

“Leadership is not about being in charge. It is about taking care of those in your charge.” – Simon Sinek

“Embrace failure as a stepping stone”

3. Celebrate Success
While it’s essential to embrace failure, it’s equally important to celebrate success. To be effective as mentors we will not just provide guidance during tough times; but also recognise and applaud their achievements, big or small. Celebrating success boosts mentee’s confidence and motivation, reinforcing their belief in their abilities. It creates a positive feedback loop that encourages them to keep pushing boundaries and striving for excellence.

4. Focus on the Mentee’s Growth, Not the Mentor’s Ego
Our primary role is to facilitate the growth and development of our leaders, not to showcase our accomplishments. Effective mentors sit by the side of the mentee, offering support and guidance, but they don’t steal the spotlight. They put their mentees’ needs, goals, and aspirations first, ensuring that the mentorship journey is all about the mentee’s success. This selfless approach fosters trust and mutual respect, making mentorship a rewarding experience for both parties.

5. Our strategies for Effective Mentorship
a. Establish Clear Goals: Effective mentorship begins with clear and measurable goals. Both the mentor and mentee should understand what they aim to achieve through the mentorship relationship.

b. Regular Communication: Regular meetings and open communication channels are vital for mentorship success. These interactions allow progress updates, feedback, and discussion about challenges and strategies.

c. Tailored Guidance: Mentoring should be personalised to the mentee’s unique needs and aspirations. A one-size-fits-all approach is rarely effective.

d. Lead by Example: Mentors should lead by example, demonstrating the qualities and behaviours they want their mentees to emulate. Actions often speak louder than words.

e. Constructive Feedback: Effective mentors provide constructive feedback that helps their mentees improve. Feedback should be specific, actionable, and focused on growth.