May 29, 2021 at 5:23 am #661Sunil KumarParticipant
Having interviewed close to 100 of the most admired leaders across business, culture, arts, and government, one important characteristic stands out: They do everything they can to imprint their “goodness” onto others in ways that make others feel like fuller versions of themselves. Put another way, the best leaders practice a form of leadership that is less about creating followers and more about creating other leaders. How do they do that? I’ve noticed four things the best mentors do:
1. Put the relationship before the mentorship.
One piece of research, conducted by Belle Rose Ragins, a mentoring expert and professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, demonstrated that unless mentees have a basic relationship with their mentors, there is no discernable difference between mentees and those not mentored. All this is to say that mentoring requires rapport. At best, it propels people to break from their formal roles and titles (boss versus employee) and find common ground as people.
2.Focus on character rather than competency.
the best leaders go beyond competency, focusing on helping to shape other people’s character, values, self-awareness, empathy, and capacity for respect. They know in the long run that there is a hard truth about soft matters and that these values-based qualities matter a lot more than skill enhancement. There are many ways to mentor people around these values and to build greater self-awareness.
3. Shout loudly with your optimism, and keep quiet with your cynicism.
Consider why an idea might work, before you consider why it might not. The best method I know for thinking this way is the 24×3 rule for optimism. I’ve written about this approach and tried to practice it for years, but it’s very difficult to master. Each time you hear a new idea, see if it is possible for you to spend 24 seconds, 24 minutes, or a day thinking about all the reasons that the idea is good before you criticize any aspect of It’s been said that the world prefers conventional failure over unconventional success; good mentors should encourage exploration of the latter.
4. Be more loyal to your mentee than you are to your company.
That said, the best mentors recognize that in its most noble and powerful form, leadership is a duty and service toward others, and that the best way to inspire commitment is to be fully and selflessly committed to the best interests of colleagues and employees.
At its highest level, mentorship is about being “good people” and having the right “good people” around us — individuals committed to helping others become fuller versions of who they are. Which is why the organizations and leaders I’ve come to admire most are the ones devoted to bringing others along