Posts tagged mentorship
Tips to Help Your People Become More Independent

The transition from dependence to independence exists in many arenas, including the workplace. As leaders, we want to quickly help our newly employed or repositioned personnel move from needy and dependent, requiring lots of direction, to confident self-reliant, and thus capable for being delegated to.

Here are some steps that can help expedite the process of making your people more independent.

  1. Avoid micromanaging – It is very common for managers and supervisors to want to ensure that their newest additions feel properly supported. They also want to avoid early mess-ups. So, they micromanage and insist on being involved in every step. While this is understandable, it is also detrimental to the new person’s growth. Find ways to allow them the space to work without constant direction, so that they can spread their wings.

  2. Be willing to let them fail Jon Brodsky of Finder.com takes the approach of letting his newly-appointed managers fast and forward. This does not mean that they get tossed into the deep-water section with the hope they quickly figure out how to swim. Instead, the goal is to give them space and permission (if not encouragement) to fail in controlled, low-stakes ways. This will allow them to learn from the process and start self-correcting. In the long-term, this learning will be far more valuable and lasting.

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Being an abundant mentor

Mentoring programs typically fail because one or more positive ingredients listed above are missing. Without question, the mentor’s head has to be fully in the game. When I first began as a head of school, I was assigned an experienced mentor from a different school on the other side of the country. He agreed to help me as a favor, and, predictably, as the school year progressed and his schedule became increasingly more filled, our time together dwindled to the point that the relationship had practically ended on its own.

In addition, a mentor has to be able to earn the protégé’s trust. That is not as simple as it sounds. In addition to demonstrating capacity, effective mentors find ways to make their protégés genuinely feel that they have the mentor’s best interests in mind.

One great way by which to build such trust is to think in abundance. Abundance theory sees the world as offering infinite possibilities. It suggests that not only is there plenty to go around (the opposite of scarcity thinking) but it also posits that my helping others will help me, in terms of sharpening my skillset and building increased capacity and demand within the field.

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8 qualities of strong mentors

Mentorship is a relationship that is created between an experienced professional and a less experienced mentee or protege. Its primary purpose is to build a support system that allows for the natural exchange of ideas, a forum for constructive advice, and a recipe for success.

Superior mentors possess most if not all of the following qualities:

  1. Skilled and knowledgeable. Good mentors possess current and relevant knowledge, expertise, and/or skills.
  2. Trust builder. The mentor establishes a high level of trust. He/she indicates that their relationship is about building capacity and offering support, not “zapping” the mentee for poor decisions or performances.
  3. Active listener. A strong mentor knows how to listen. This includes using eyes and body posture to convey interest and attention. More about strong listening skills can be found here.
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