Friday, March 22, 2013

What Leaders Must Do to Ensure Mentoring Success

2. Leaders must be personally and organizationally committed to mentoring. Leaders who demonstrate their personal commitment are better able to rally others around it. Leaders who don’t support mentoring with both talk and action stifle these efforts within their organizations. When this happens, it undermines mentoring credibility and sends a message about its lack of importance to the organization. It sometimes takes years to recover from this kind of setback.

3. Leaders must encourage and invite participation by inspiring a shared vision of what is possible through mentoring. They must conscientiously work at engaging their people. They need to talk about how mentoring benefits the individual and the organization, as well as how it aligns with their vision and strategy. They must acknowledge and recognize the importance of mentoring by making the time to talk with others about their experiences.

4. Leaders must continuously create value for mentoring. When leadership is not present and accounted for in the mentoring effort, people take notice. If mentoring is felt, experienced and perceived as a 
vested interest and a commitment of leadership, then that spirit of ownership permeates every level of the organization.

5. Leaders must build the right infrastructure to support their mentoring efforts. Infrastructure promotes sustainability by assuring that mentoring ownership is well-anchored within multiple layers of the organization. An organization with a mentoring-friendly infrastructure commits its leadership and time to mentoring over the long term. It also ensures that there are sufficient financial, technological, human and knowledge resources to support mentoring as it develops and expands.

6. Leaders must proactively address the succession of mentoring leadership. This task cannot — and should not — reside with one person. This responsibility is too important and too time-consuming to rest on only one set of shoulders. Leaders eventually move on, retire or leave. Wise leaders empower mentoring leadership to replace itself.

7. Leaders must be role models of mentoring excellence. Positive role models exert powerful influence. Their example extends a compelling invitation to engage in a personal odyssey, to learn their story, to follow their example and to travel alongside them. As Laurent Daloz reminds us, the mentor’s gift “is not the opportunity to become like them but the challenge to become more fully ourselves through them. They call forth the best we have. They invite us to transcend ourselves.”

8. Leaders must keep abreast of progress and current developments. Up-to-date knowledge, success stories and data points should be part of the organizational leader’s 
communication tool kit. Holding periodic briefings to keep leaders current helps them in their efforts to maintain mentoring visibility and reinforce the value mentoring creates in an organization.