When you land that first job as a manager or supervisor, you work hard to establish a style that works for both your personal success and that of your employees. Often, you think back to those managers who have influenced and shaped your own career.
Hopefully at some point in your life, you found a manger who was not just a boss, but a mentor who challenged you to be the best you can be.
For good managers, the decision to go from a “good boss” to someone who is revered by their employees shouldn’t be a challenging one. The actual implementation, however, might be.
Flickr/Matthew W. Jackson
Leading by example is one tactic that will put you on your way to becoming a mentor.
It may not be the grandiose gestures that illicit the title of mentor. It may be the moments when you never realize you’ve made an impact. It’s that lasting impact, coupled with the right skills, that sets a mentor apart from an ordinary boss.
Successful mentors recognize greatness. They see the potential in their employees. They differentiate between those who accept the status quo, and those who challenge it. They’ll take employees who are willing to step outside the box, push them, and in the process drive the company forward.
Inspiration and the stewardship of values and teamwork are contagious.
A mentor is not just a leader but a teacher. Exceptional leaders transcend the traditional manager-employee relationship, helping their employees to in turn become great managers, great leaders, and ultimately great people. They share their experiences and knowledge with those who want to develop their own skills and excel in their careers.
A mentor is selfless. Her guidance and wisdom is passed on solely to promote another person’s growth. Most mentors won’t ever receive an award for their work, but the satisfaction of watching another succeed will be well worth the investment.
Mentors recognize differences, celebrate skills, and challenge weaknesses. They know when it’s time to leave an employee to grow on their own, instead of molding them into a clone. They understand when more lessons are needed, or more guidance is required. They have an uncanny ability to be empathetic and motivating at the same time, helping an employee to overcome any obstacle.
When you take on the role of boss or manager, you have the potential to influence a number of people. How you choose to shape the role is up to you. But remember, the most effective managers lead by example and are respected because their actions, both in business and in life, lead to success.
Do you have what it takes to be a mentor to your employees, or are you just another in the long line of bosses?
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