Why Leaders Should Always Mentor

Why Leaders Should Always Mentor

Every day we strive to learn a little bit more. It may be something simple, or a complex task.

But as we weave in and out of our daily practices, it all comes together in a unique way. We think differently. We understand how things fit together. We see the flow in an entirely distinctive way from others around us.

Chances are you’ve never sat down and contemplated all you know. It’s not something we consider. Until someone around us asks a question, and we pay attention to the answers we can provide. That’s the day you change. That’s the day your leadership skills move to the next level.

Self-Awareness Can Transform Your Leadership Skills

Most of us fall into leadership in the normal way. We work hard, get promoted. Eventually, we’re put in charge.

Then the training begins. To be an effective leader, you’ll start honing in on critical leadership skills. Becoming a people person. Lead instead of following. And become a lifelong learner. You change. You grow. More out of necessity than anything else.

But to become a great leader requires feedback. You can’t dish it out without knowing the impact it has. And the more you learn about how you impact those around you, the better you can be at helping them move forward too.

Communication is key. Provide guidance. Ask questions. Deliver direction through discussions and problems. This is a two-way street. Watching how a mentee uses your insights will only give you more value in what you know. Things you take for granted can suddenly become valuable teaching material. Because you think about things in a unique way.

Mentoring Separates Doers From The Leaders

A part of a leader’s job is to watch for hidden talent. To find the diamonds in the rough. The employees that can easily be taken to the next level, given more responsibility, and become a leader in their own right in the future. It’s always an ebb-and-flow environment, one that helps your organization continue to grow.

We’re in a crossover business society right now. In almost all organizations, departments are transcending upon each other, creating more sophisticated alliances between each.

In the IT world, for example, some of the most interesting projects they can take on no longer happen in the IT department. It’s in other areas, like marketing or finance. IT leaders are figuring out that creating self-serving internal policies and programs no longer work across the board. Instead, IT is taking ideas and suggestions for better service, better performance, and integrating solutions into every department company-wide.

Someone in marketing may have an MBA, be well versed in strategic business applications, and have an excellent understanding of systems design. But what they’re missing is the skills needed to move to the next level.

The mentor/mentee relationship can bring talent across the board, and make them richer, more diverse employees that can offer greater benefits overall. With a little training, a little coaching, they can move your company into a solid, profitable direction.

How do you develop the mentor/mentee relationships within your organization?

How To Build An Effective Team As A New Team Leader

How To Build An Effective Team As A New Team Leader

Nothing is more exciting than being promoted and put in charge of a new project. Yet after the excitement of the promotion wears off, overwhelm may quickly set in as you think about the journey ahead.

As a new team leader, your first order of business is to build an effective team. Whether the team came with your promotion, or your first task is selecting the perfect participants, where do you begin?

All roads lead to you.How To Build An Effective Team As A New Team Leader

As a team leader, your purpose is to lead a team as effectively as possible to its end purpose. The primary reason for forming a team is the combined skills and expertise of many can and should trump the contributions of individuals. The tighter the coordination, the more each team member provides his or her best, the more tasks stay on track and add to the end result, the more beneficial the outcome will be to all involved.

If a team works effectively, it’s easy to forget the team leader’s role in making it all happen. It runs that well.

Yet that doesn’t happen by accident. Team leaders have many challenges to overcome before the team can fulfill its purpose. Before a team can reach its goal, a team leader must:

1. Identify goals and objectives and effectively share them with team members.

The clearer you can define all aspects of the project, the more your team members will align with your thinking. Also keep in mind that the more on board your team is with the ultimate goal, the easier your job will be to keep everyone on task. Start with broad goals:

  • What is the purpose of this project?
  • What is the end result?

Then break it down into as much detail as possible.

  • What tasks are needed?
  • Who is the best person for each task?
  • What skills are needed?
  • How should the task be performed?
  • When should the task be completed to keep us on track?

The clearer you see the project, the more your team will as well.

2. Identify all resources needed and make sure they are easily at hand.

Resources come in all kinds of formats. You may need monetary resources, special training and education, specific tools for the job, or applications to help run things more competently.

Teams can’t be productive if they are waiting around for the right resource. The more you can anticipate the needs ahead of time, the more resources you can have in place as they are needed.

In some cases, you as the team leader may know what resources will be needed. In some cases, your team has a stronger idea of needs and requirements. Start an open dialog early to ensure your team has the essentials from day one.

3. Create clear assignments for each team member, providing the appropriate training when necessary.

One of the greatest challenges you can face as a team leader is hearing a member say, “I didn’t know I was supposed to do that”. Not only can it set the project back, it can also cause a rift amongst the team members.

Ensure that you clearly define each team member’s role before the project begins, and clarify tasks along the way. If something changes or moves off task, it’s your job to guide it back into place. If training is necessary, provide it.

You can also assess your own strengths and weaknesses along the way, and watch how they impact the team. If you have a weakness, find a mentor or even another team member that can help you stay on track.

4. Keep the team on track until the team finishes the task at hand.

Staying on task and controlling the outcome are all part of the process. In all cases, establish a metric to be used for measuring performance and outcomes. The clearer you can define each process, the more team members will be able to guide themselves towards the desired result.

As the team reaches milestones, and heads towards the completion of the project, consider rewards as well. Nothing says, “job well done” more than a leader recognizing the work of his team. Remember, you as a team leader only succeed if your team shines. Keep that as your ultimate goal, and you’re well on your way to success.