Learn the best practices and common pitfalls of mentoring in our latest blog post. Discover the do's and don'ts of effective mentorship today.
Mentoring Builds Future Leaders
Unlock the power of mentoring in cultivating future leaders! Learn how to mentor or find a mentor for yourself. Read our blog to learn more.
"Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." -Ralph Waldo Emerson
Leaders are rare. Libraries have been written about leadership qualities. We could have a heated debate about what makes a good leader and poor one. But in a world built on production, the ultimate value of leader is determined by how effective he is at getting employees to perform and produce things which his company can exchange for money. When you find a high-potential employee, you might be looking at a future leader within your ranks. When you have someone with natural leadership skills how can mentoring nurture them for the future?
Here are three basic mentoring approaches to develop future leaders:
A company has identified an employee with leadership potential. They have targeted him for future promotion and development. The high-potential employee should be paired up with a senior executive within the company. The senior executive can help steer the employee away from pitfalls and guide him to learn soft skills such as spotting signs of burnout, how to motivate teams and conduct productive meetings. This also benefits both parties as the junior employee can give the senior executive a fresh outlook.
Today’s workforce is multigenerational. People are breaking into companies at younger ages and are sometimes working later into life. This landscape is an environment where everyone should learn from each other. Younger employees are often more versed in technology and social media. Senior employees have more knowledge of institutional matters and the various nuances of work one can only master with time and experience. Mentoring can be used to introduce senior employees to newer ways of doing things. Putting high-potential employees in a reverse mentoring position lets them get used to leading someone else with experience and they will also benefit from the relationship.
One of the barriers to running an effective mentoring program is not having enough mentors. Most profitable organizations have significantly less junior employees than senior executives. This makes pairing everyone up evenly challenging. Group mentoring solves this. Multiple high-potential employees can be paired up with one mentor who meets with them in a group setting. These sessions can be energizing and educational for all involved.
Five Tips for Running Leadership Mentor Programs
1 – Open things up for employee input from the start
Workplaces change. Personnel come and go. The pandemic forever altered the way work is done. The first step in getting employees to “buy-into” a mentoring program is to get their input. Select out high-potential employees and survey them to find out what they would like to get out of a mentoring program. What do they want to learn about? Who do they want to hear from? You can take this information and weave into the mentoring program to get the most out of it.
2 – Enforce guidelines, but be flexible
The best guidelines gently push the mentoring program forward, but don’t stifle creativity. Having a schedule, enforcing mandatory weekly mentor-mentee lunches ensures the mentoring program gets done. But it might be best to leave what happens in these sessions totally open. Or if there are specific goals, give mentors/mentees several options of what they can cover when they meet. Providing this freedom invites participation.
3 – Keep DEI in mind
The world is always changing. Organizations that embrace this change fair better than those who cling helplessly to the way things “used to be.”
Studies show that companies who embrace diversity, equity and inclusion:
To build a diverse pool of industry leaders keep in mind all the unique individual challenges employees face. Minimize barriers to inclusion and learning. Take DEI into account in every aspect of a mentoring program to make it as smooth as possible for all participants.
4 – Precision Matters when Pairing Mentors with Mentees
The matching has to be done right. Get this step wrong and all the carefully laid groundwork and best-laid plans of the mentoring program will fail. No mentoring program will succeed if mentors and mentees are not compatible. The best way to do this is to ensure participants fill out thorough and complete profiles. You don’t want profiles to be too long, but precise in terms of what you want to know so pairing can be smooth. This is where mentoring software (Mentor Resources) can really help. Mentoring software has built-in algorithms that make the pairing process seamless and sets up a foundation for success from the outset.
5 – Infuse Company Culture with Leadership Mentoring
What gets backed by senior management is what filters down into a company. In order for mentoring to succeed, management needs to make it a priority. Create a company culture that isn’t all about the bottom line, but developing and growing employees. Help future leaders to reach their full potential. Culture will improve. Mentoring will flourish. Production and income will also boost in a healthy way.
In order for any organization to expand, it needs a feeder system for future leaders. Not everyone put in the pipeline will blossom into a senior executive, but you can develop as many high-potential employees into leaders as possible by using mentoring.
Mentor Resources can help any company to leverage technology to create tailored career development programs that are cost-effective. Our mentoring software - Wisdom Share is a cloud-based program that is simple and comes with guided workflows. Included are tools for administrators to attract, enroll, connect, and guide participants. We also provide analytics to ensure you can monitor your employee development program and easily see ROI metrics.
Reach out to us today for a Free Demonstration of our software.