Kevin Eikenberry is hosting his annual
Best Leadership Blogs competition.
Here's how it works:
"We would like to know which leadership blogs YOU feel should be involved in this year’s contest. Which blogs share the best leadership skills? Which ones help you in your thinking about corporate leadership or strategic leadership challenges? Which ones continue to help you on your path to learning leadership?
Please send us the names and URLs of the leadership blogs you are following and believe are the best the Web has to offer by June 10th.
We will take all of your nominations into consideration and will be announcing the 10 finalists on July 1st. Then you will have the chance to vote for your favorites, and help us select the Best Leadership Blog of 2009."
Please take a moment to nominate your favorite!
......I wonder what my chances are of winning?
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Kevin Eikenberry is hosting his annual
Friday, May 29, 2009
Thanks to all who recently subscribed to Great Leadership in the last few says. With those additional email subscriptions, there are now over 1000 subscribers!
I emailed the two winners of the free book contest this morning. (I didn't want to mention their names because they may not want me to). It was so successful, I'm sure I'll be running another one soon.
To celebrate the milestone and to welcome my new subscribers, here's a list of my top 10 most popular posts:
Leadership Development for "A" Players
10 Tips on How to Lead a Global Team
Great Leadership for Challenging Times
Would Your Peers Vote for You?
How to Develop a Leadership Competency Model
Nine Leadership Development Strategies for a Performance and Potential Matrix
10 Leadership Styles
Using the Performance and Potential Matrix to Assess Talent
How to Write a Great Individual Development Plan (IDP)
Best Leadership & Management Books for 2008
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Most managers have taken a 360 degree leadership assessment at some point in their careers. You know, those surveys that are sent to your manager, direct reports, and peers, asking everyone to rate your leadership behaviors.
When you get your results, and tear open the report, begin to analyze the numbers, graphs, and comments, which rater groups do you tend to pay the most attention to?
Having debriefed over 1000 of these, and taken them myself, if you’re like most managers, you tend to zero in on your how your manager and your employees rate you. After all, your employee scores should be the most accurate reflection of your leadership capabilities, and let’s face it, at the end of the day, you’d better be meeting your manager’s expectations, right?
Well, here’s something that may convince you to pay more attention to those peer ratings and more importantly, change the way you relate to your peers.
A few years ago, I attended an executive development program at the University of Virginia’s Darden School called Leadership for Extraordinary Performance. We were all required to do a 360 assessment as a part of the program, using the Leadership Practices Inventory. As we reviewed the results in class, the instructors, Jack and Carol Weber, told us about a piece of research they did. Having conducted hundreds of these programs using the LPI, they decided to do a study to see which rater group – manager, direct reports, or peers – were the most significant predictors of promotability. They tracked down program graduates to see who had been promoted, and compared their 360 scores to those that had not been. The results were surprising them; but by now you’ve probably guessed the answer – it was peers!
That was a wake-up call for me, and changed the way I work with my peers and how I think about leadership development.
Scott Eblin, executive coach and author of the book “The Next Level: What Insiders Know About Executive Success”, says that newly promoted senior executives need to “look up, down, and sideways”. Most score well on the first two – working with their bosses and direct reports. But they often fail to look left and right; they don’t collaborate with peer department heads. And that’s a big mistake, according to Eblin. Leaving peers out of the decision making process eventually gets managers in trouble, and is a key reason why newly promoted execs fail the senior level.
Patrick Lencioni, consultant and author of the book “Five Dysfunctions of a Team”, has a similar perspective on the importance of peers. He says every manager has two teams; the one they lead, and the one they are a part of (their manager’s). Lencioni claims your #1 team as a manager should be your manager’s team, not your own. Our employees want us to work well with other departments, to remove silos and barriers that stand in the way of their success. When this doesn’t happen, they end up paying the price.
I see the power of peer respect and credibility play out in succession planning all the time. When I work with managers on their development plans, I’ll often ask them to think of a peer that that they see as a role model for a specific leadership competency (i.e., leadership presence, leading change, influence), and someone they would be willing to learn from. I've noticed they all tend to come up with the same few names. And those highly sought after managers are the very same ones at the top of our high potential lists, which end up getting promoted to the next level.
Are you convinced that you may want to re-think how you relate to your peers yet? If so, here’s 10 ways to get started:
1. Don’t try to outshine your peers with your manager. Instead, go out of your way to give them credit and point out their strengths and accomplishments.
2. Ask yourself: “Would my peers elect me to be their next leader?” If not, ask why, and commit to resolving those issues.
3. Start being an advocate for your peer’s work. People expect you to champion your own department and projects; they’ll be surprised when you take a stand for someone else’s pet project.
4. Don’t act or be siloed. Share information, ask for your peers input, and look for ways to collaborate and solve enterprise-wide problems.
5. Passionately defend your peers behind their backs. I know an executive that always said the sign of a healthy team is if they would get into a bar fight for each other.
6. Interact with every peer as if they are as competent and committed as you are.
7. Pay attention to your peers at meeting – listen as if they were your manager. Try watching the body language of your peers at meetings, and you’ll see what I mean by this. When your manager makes a joke, everyone laughs, right? Give your peers that same level of attention.
8. Have regular meetings with your peers to understand their goals, resolve issues, share your agendas, and to help each other out. These meetings can be brief (15 minutes) and informal, but go a long way in building trust.
9. Form “peer coaching” relationships with your peers. Pick something that each of you is good and the other one wants to get better at, and commit to learning from each other.
10. Lastly, don’t run around trying to act like your peer’s leader. You’re not, and you’ll come off being obnoxious. I’ve seen this happen when a “high potential” gets wind that they may be one of their manager’s successors. Although it’s done unconsciously and well intended, the reaction is usually “who the hell died and made you boss?”
Try it. Start showing up differently with your peers today. You’ll be a more complete leader, your peers will thank you for it, and you might even get promoted.
Monday, May 25, 2009
1. The Essential HR Handbook, A Quick and Handy Resource for Any Manager or HR Professional, by Sharon Armstrong and Barbara Mitchell;
2. The Adversity Paradox, An Unconventional Guide to Achieving Uncommon Business Success, By J. Barry Griswell and Bob Jennings.
I'm looking for new *email subscribers. Be the 10th or 20th new email subscriber to Great Leadership, and I'll send you one of the books. I'll contact you via email for your mailing address.
This contest is open to US and Canadian residents only (no PO Boxes).
There's no time limit to this contest - I'll announce the winners when I see the 20th new subscriber (I can track them through feedburner).
* If you decide you want to cancel your subscription after the contest, no problem. But I hope you'll like receiving updates via email. So far I've only had one cancellation - after I referenced Sarah Palin in a post.
Friday, May 22, 2009
Just some random updates and news for my regular subscribers and readers:
SmartBrief liked the post I wrote about a moratorium on CEO success studies and asked me to write a similar guest post on their SmartBlog on Workforce. Here's the summary that went out on SmartBrief on Leadership and 2-3 of their other Briefs this morning:
In defense of people skills Leadership blogger Dan McCarthy swears he'll read no more news stories about research into the traits of successful CEOs. A recent David Brooks column in the New York Times sent him around the bend. Brooks said new research showed that warm, team-oriented CEOs are less likely to succeed. McCarthy says Brooks misinterprets. Plenty of studies show people skills are crucial at the top, he writes on our SmartBlog on Workforce. "I think we collectively need to spend less time studying what makes a successful CEO, or leader, and more time developing those skills," he writes. Read other Brooks' critics.
Looks like I'm not the only one who took issues with the Brooks piece. So did Wally, Miki, and Mary Jo.
Speaking of SmartBrief, I've recently added their Leadership Brief widget on the sidebar of my blog, so you can see their top stories every day.
Other "sidebar" updates:
I've added a few new blogs to the blogroll, including:
Ann Bares's new Compensation Cafe
Lisa Haneberg's Management Craft
Alex Kjerulf's Chief Happiness Officer
DDI's Talent Management Intelligence
and The Tom Peter's Weblog.
All are excellent leadership & management resources, and all were generous in adding Great Leadership to their own blogrolls. I was particularly stoked about cracking Tom Peter's exclusive list - it had to go through a review process to be considered. I'm planted right between Gothamist and Health Affiars. Yikes.
You may have noticed a few other changes on the sidebar. I'm experimenting with a new sponsored job board - a tool that let's you search five different boards with one search. Give it a try. Yes, there are jobs out there!
I removed my Amazon favorite's book list - it was taking too long to load on a lot of readers. However, I'm still an Amazon affiliate - see the Father's Day Deals widget, right above my picture. Please do your Amazon shopping through this link, as I'll get a small commission on anything you purchase. Helps pay for the coffee and donuts.
I've added a couple new brag badges and blog ranking lists: Evan Carmichael's Top 50 HR Blogs, and Invesp's Top 50 Leadership Blogs. Here's today's leadership rankings (top 10 only):
Leadership Blogs: The ultimate rank:
1st How to Change the World
2nd Seths Blog
3rd Education Week: Leadership And Management
4th Management Craft
5th Great Leadership
6th The Practice of Leadership
7th The Bing Blog
8th Life Beyond Code
9th The Long Tail
10th Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog
Thanks to all of you, for subscribing, linking, and reading. I really appreciate your support, it means so much to me and motivates me to keep it up.
The Next Leadership Development Carnival:I skipped a Carnival last month, I had too much going on over the weekend. I love doing them, but they are time consuming. In the future, I'll probably ask different leadership bloggers to host them on the in-between months.
In the meantime, the next Leadership Development Carnival will be hosted right here on June 7th. Use the Carnival Submission Form if you'd like to submit a post.
That's it for now. I hope you have a great Memorial Day weekend!
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
I hereby announce a ban on “What makes CEOs successful” studies. Or at least the silly, misleading stories that report on the studies. Or the ones that I don’t like.
It seems there’s been a bunch of these recently, and I admit, I’m a sucker for them. I read ‘em all, and pass the interesting ones along to my readers.
This one, published as an Op-Ed in the May 18 New York Times, and picked up in today’s SmartBrief on Leadership, just put me over the edge. It’s not so much the study and findings… it’s the way journalists interpret and report the results.
And I admit, I’m guilty of doing the same thing. It’s a way to attract attention and be provocative. The problem is, it’s misleading, confusing to aspiring leaders, and irresponsible.
Here’s the teaser from SmartBrief:
Lovable CEOs don’t cut it
While executive coaches preach the importance of good people skills, the CEO traits linked to success are organizational and execution skills, such as attention to detail, efficiency, persistence and long hours, researchers conclude. "In other words, warm, flexible, team-oriented and empathetic people are less likely to thrive as CEOs," says David Brooks. "Organized, dogged, anal-retentive and slightly boring people are more likely to thrive."
The Times writer, David Brooks, goes on to say “Traits like being a good listener, a good team builder, an enthusiastic colleague, a great communicator do not seem to be very important when it comes to leading successful companies.”
OK, so we're now giving current and aspiring CEOs permission to be @#%holes!?
The characteristics the study actually correlated with CEO success were:
- Can execute
- Organizational skills
- Attention to detail
- Analytic thoroughness
- The ability to work long hours (energy)
- Emotional stability
- Provides clear direction
So does this sound like unlovable, boring, and anal-retentive? To me, it describes many of the competencies of a successful executive. Not all of them, but there’s sure nothing new or surprising on the list.
I think we collectively need to spend less time studying what makes a successful CEO, or leader, and more time developing those skills. It’s no secret, we already know! It's been studied, over and over. We’ve known for the last 20 years. Just take a credible research-based leadership competency model (DDI, CCL, PDI, Lominger, Linkage), adapt it to your organization, and focus your efforts on developing those skills.
So I swear, I’m going to try to stop, I really am. No more CEO studies.
And I’m going to stop eating chocolate cake, chicken wings, and Doritos and take off that 5 pounds I’ve been trying to lose.
Monday, May 18, 2009
From Today’s USA Today: 3M CEO George Buckley Focuses on Leadership Training.
The headline is a little misleading…. it’s not just about leadership training, it’s about leadership development, and I have to tell you, this guy really gets it.
3M is the company that placed #1 is the annual Hay Group/CEO Magazine 2008 Best Companies for Leaders survey. They jumped from #15 in 2007, partly because of a change in the ranking methodology, but I suspect also because their leadership development efforts are starting to bear fruit.
Buckley became CEO at 3M in 2005, taking over from Jim McNerney. Prior to that, he had executive positions at British Rail, Emerson, and Brunswick Corporation, where he was CEO. Here’s an interview he did with CEO Magazine after they “won” the award.
Believe me, I’ve read these CEO interviews where they preach the virtues of leadership and leadership development. Some of them sound like they’re reading straight from a script that the head of HR wrote for them. I can sniff ‘em out…. this one is legit.
Here’s why I think so:
1. His approach to leadership development sounds like it’s based on his own experience (mostly at Emerson), as well as fundamentally sound leadership development practices. Sometimes I see one or the other… practices based on unique experiences that don’t transfer organizationally, or good theory that contradicts a CEOs personal reality.
2. He practices leadership development through changing assignments, but believes executives should stay in a job for about four years, in order to experience failure (the best teacher) and sustained success. His predecessor liked to move people around every year or so - musical chairs leadership development – which can be disruptive to the business and yield limited return on the development investment.
3. He invests his time and money in leadership development – not just lip service. He personally spends about one fifth of his time on talent management issues. He spends time teaching and expects others to. Twice a year, he spends 3-5 days reviewing talent.
Even while they are cutting jobs, 3M is not cutting back on leadership development. Why? “It's a little like having double vision. One eye has to focus on today. The other eye has got to focus on tomorrow. Another analogy I often use: My head's in the oven, and my feet are in ice water, but on average I feel OK. Organizations don't fail on averages. It's vital these days for companies to watch costs, and watch cash even more than costs. It's more important to invest to differentiate yourself from the competition. In a 2% recession, you have 98% of the business left. In a 5% recession you have 95% of the business left. You have to focus on what's left, not on what's gone. You're unlikely to do that well if you back off on training and leadership development.”
Here’s another awesome quote: “Years ago, when I worked at Brunswick, I was asked, "George, it's a tough time right now. Should we be spending money on training? What if these people leave the company?" My answer was, "What if we don't, and they stay?"
4. He’s not just focusing on his own replacement, or replacements for C positions. At 3M, they help leaders two to four levels below the CEO develop and transition into new roles. There’s the belief that every employee has the potential to be a leader, and that everyone is responsible for leadership development (not just HR).
5. He knows the difference between what can’t be developed (intelligence, morals) and what can (just about everything else).
At a former company, an HR VP asked me if I could have just ONE thing that would have the biggest impact on the development of our leaders, what would it be? I told her a new CEO. While it wasn’t the best political answer, it’s true. Without CEO commitment, nothing else matters. With it, even a mediocre systems and programs will work.
However, I suspect 3M had a pretty good system and programs before Buckley arrived, and they wouldn’t be as successful without the guidance of Sandy Tokach, the company’s vice president of talent development/organizational effectiveness. Behind every CEO and company that wins awards for leadership development, there’s always a supporting cast behind the scenes putting the infrastructure in place and making it all happen.
That’s leadership development match made in heaven – a committed CEO and a talented HR supporting cast.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Terry Pearce, author of Leading Out Loud, one of my favorite books on leadership and presentation skills, defines leadership as “seeing what is needed (vision) and inspiring others to take action to effect change”.
In order to convince others to change, leaders need to appeal to people’s heads and their hearts. You can't just give them data, facts, logic, and return on investment. The most logical argument won't persuade people unless you've also connected with them on an emotional level.
2. Emotion tends to prompt behavioral changes more quickly than logical appeals do.
3. Responding emotionally requires less effort than logically weighing the pros and cons of a presentation.
4. Emotion-arousing arguments distract people from noticing the speaker's intention to persuade.
The language you choose and the way you compose your argument exert a major impact on listeners' emotions. The following language tools will help to reach people on an emotional level:
A metaphor is an imaginative way of describing something as something else, for example, "Time is money." Organizing metaphors are overarching worldviews that shape a person's everyday actions; for instance, "Business is war."
Here are 3 ways to change someone's worldview:
2. Highlight the weaknesses of your audience's worldview using their metaphor. For example, "By focusing on the our competitors instead of customer support, we've allowed our customer-satisfaction levels to fall."
3. Provide examples of other companies that have achieved success using your replacement metaphor, as in "Our competitor's sales have increased 18% since they appointed account managers to collaborate with the sales team."
Replacing someone's organizing metaphor is never easy—people cling tightly to their worldviews. But by providing powerful evidence of the flaws in an existing metaphor and the veracity of the new one, you can persuade others to at least consider a different outlook.
- Grab listeners' attention with riveting plots and characters audiences can relate to
- Simplify complex ideas and make them concrete
- Evoke powerful emotions among listeners
- Stay in your audience's mind long after the facts have been forgotten
(Adapted from Harvard ManageMentor's , a great online learning resource for managers)
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
I found the following study in a recent book called “Who: The A Method for Hiring”, by Geoff Smart and Randy Street, from the management assessment firm ghSMART. Geoff is the son of Brad Smart, a frequent guest blogger on Great Leadership.
While I worry that managers might not read this carefully and jump to the wrong conclusions, it’s worth reading and considering. Take a look and let me know what you think.
What Type of CEOs Make Money for Investors?
If you are a CEO, or want to become one, you may find this enlightening. We conducted the largest study ever done, pairing in-depth assessments of CEO traits with financial performance. What we found may make your head spin. It flies in the face of conventional wisdom.
To learn whether there is indeed a profile that can predict CEO success, we teamed up with Steve Kaplan, professor of entrepreneurship and finance at the University of Chicago, and his collaborators, professor Morton Sorensen and research assistant Mark Klebanov. Together, we analyzed the data from 313 Topgrading interviews we conducted on private-equity-backed CEOs from 2000-2005. Then we matched the CEO assessments with the actual financial performance they delivered, which we tracked down with permission from our clients.
The results were compelling and controversial. In fact, The Wall Street Journal ran a half-page article about this on November 19, 2007, that attracted a lot of attention.
Boards and investors have a tendency to invest in CEOs who demonstrate openness to feedback, possess great listening skills, and treat people with respect. These executives have mastered the soft skills. We call them “Lambs” because these CEOs tend to graze in circles, feeding on the feedback and direction of others. (Note from Dan: I hate the “Lamb” label!)
Boards love lambs because they are so easy to work with, and in fact, in our study Lambs were successful 57 percent of the time. That is not a bad success rate. A batter who hit .570 over a career could walk backward into the Hall of Fame.
The second dominant profile that emerged from our analysis was of CEOs who move quickly, act aggressively, work hard, demonstrate persistence, and set high standards and hold people accountable to them. We call these CEOs “Cheetahs” because they are fast and focused.
Cheetahs in out study were successful 100 percent of the time. This is not a rounding error. Every single one of them created significant value for their investors.
Conventional wisdom holds that the sort of emotional intelligence Lambs show is the critically important leadership quality. In fact, our analysis agues otherwise. Emotional intelligence is important, but only when matched with the propensity to get things done. Too many executives have fallen into the trap of accentuating their lamb skills at the expense of their Cheetah qualities. They work hard to stay in tune with their employees. They’re well liked on the shop floor and in the boardroom. There’s only one problem: they don’t produce value at anywhere near the rate Cheetahs do.
This isn’t to say that Cheetahs lack soft skills. To the contrary, they are talented people whose soft skills played a critical role in their ascent to the top job. The difference, though, is that Cheetahs know when it is time to stop asking for feedback and to attack a target to achieve key outcomes that move a company forward.
The characteristics that make up a Cheetah or a Lamb were statistically significant predictors of success in the job. Steve Kaplan and his team have presented these findings at the University of Chicago, Harvard, Wharton, and Kellogg. We know the results hold true in private equity, and plan to study how extensible these findings are to public-company CEOs. In the meantime, you might consider how these findings apply to you.
Should you always want to be a Cheetah, or do you always want to hire a Cheetah? No. (Note from Dan: this is an important point. Most of the assessment work that ghSMART does is for private equity firms looking for CEOs to turn around troubled buy-out companies. So in these kinds of leadership challenges, a tougher, more directive style would be needed. That doesn’t mean the same approach would work in all situations.)
But if you have the choice to be or hire somebody who errs on the side of being too fast and focused versus being too slow and extremely collaborative, we recommend going with the fast and focused option. In this fast-paced age of business in which we all exist, it appears that speed and focus really count when it comes to delivering great financial results.
Monday, May 11, 2009
The deck is stacked against women from the earliest days of their careers, according to new research from DDI. Gender discrimination still prevails in organizations around the world, but is now behind closed doors and preventing female leaders from reaching their highest point.
The new report, Holding Women Back: Troubling Discoveries and Best Practices for Helping Female Leaders Succeed, was prompted by compelling data uncovered by DDI's Global Leadership Forecast 2008/2009 study, which surveyed more than 12,000 leaders from 76 countries.
In the following article, DDI's Chief Scientist and the report's co-author, Ann Howard, provides an overview of the study's startling findings, and offers advice for bucking this trend.
Read the article and watch a video summary:
So what do you think? When it comes to leadership development, is the deck stacked against female leaders? Cast your vote here:
Saturday, May 9, 2009
I'd like to introduce a new leadership development blog, Leadertalk, written by Rebecca Robinson, from Mountain State University. I have the feeling this one's going to catch on, and I've added it to my blogroll.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
by Dan McCarthy
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
6. Don't be one of those attendees that race up and down the trade show isles with a shopping bag, avoiding eye contact with the vendors, and grabbing handfuls of useless junk. Stop and talk to the vendors, ask questions, be courteous, and represent your company in a professional way. Sure, help yourself to the goodies, just don't get carried away. And if you're nice, they may even give you one of the premium goodies they hide under the table.
10. Don't forget to thank your manager for allowing you to attend. Leave a voice mail with a summary of how you are benefiting from the experience and how much your appreciate the opportunity.
12. If you can, offer to be a presenter, break-out facilitator, discussion moderator, or any opportunity to get involved. It's a good way to build your professional reputation and enhance your networking opportunities.
How about you? How do you get the most out of a conference?
Saturday, May 2, 2009
This guest post is by Misti Burmeister, author, speaker, and coach extraordinaire. She's the author of the bestseller "From Boomers To Bloggers", and owner of Inspirion Inc, a Virginia-based, woman-owned business delivering customized leadership development programs, executive coaching, and keynote speeches.
I had a chance to speak with Misti and came away so impressed by her track record of success, her passion for what she does, and her expertise in workplace generational issues.
In this post, Misti offers a provides a solid business case for mentoring and tips on how to increase your chances of success as a mentor.
You shouldn’t mentor! That is, unless you can see how critical mentoring has become both to young professionals seeking to understand the business world and seasoned professionals eager to learn new, innovative technology.
You might consider mentoring if you know what you have to offer and are eager to share what you know with someone else. You will, without question, be an exceptional mentor if you are ready to receive all the rewards that come when you help someone else. You should only mentor if you care about the long-term success of your organization.
“More than 60% of college and graduate students listed mentoring as a criterion for selecting an employer after graduation” (Source: MMHA)
“76% of Fortune’s top 25 companies offer mentoring programs” (Source: Fortune)
“96% of executives say mentoring is an important development tool” (Source: AccountTemps)
“77% of companies report that mentoring programs were effective in increasing retention” (Source: The Center for Creative Leadership)
“35% of employees who do not receive regular mentoring look for another job within 12 months” (Source: Emerging Workforce study by Spherion)
“62% of employees who have received mentoring say they are very likely to stay with their current employer” (Source: Yellowbrick)
“75% of executives point to mentoring as playing a key role in their careers” (Source: ASTD)
For those of you who have clearly decided that mentoring is for you, here are three tips to increase the chances of huge success as a mentor:
Tip One: Know What You Have To Offer. Before deciding to become a mentor, take 30 minutes to write down all the skills/experiences you have to offer. At the end of the 30 minutes, circle the skills/experiences you want to share. This will offer a fantastic foundation for the mentoring relationship. I also encourage you to create a list of skills/experiences you would like to gain – you never know, this could be a great reverse mentoring relationship – you can learn from each other.
Tip Two: Learn What Your Mentee Is Hoping To Gain. Whether you are participating in a mentoring program within an organization or you are looking to mentor outside the context of a formal mentoring program, it’s essential to learn about what your mentee is hoping to gain from you as their mentor. What kind of skills/experiences are they hoping to gain? Perhaps they want to gain your perspective on their experiences as they go along – either way, it’s important to be clear about what they want to gain.
Tip Three: Set Clear Expectations. The vast majority of mentoring relationships fail miserably because expectations were not clear. It’s important that both the mentor and mentee are clear about what they are hoping to gain from the relationship. Sometimes mentees are hoping for certain connections or possibly even a promotion as a result of the mentoring relationship. I highly discourage professionals from entering mentoring relationships for this reason. Instead, focus on the skills and experiences each would like to gain from the relationship. As a mentor, know what you have and want to offer, communicate it clearly and take the time to learn what your mentee is hoping to gain.
Bonus Tip: Get An Outsider’s Point of View. Mentoring relationships can sometimes present challenges. It’s hugely valuable to have someone to bounce ideas off when things are not going as planned. You can seek this kind of support in an executive coach – you can also ask someone you highly respect to provide an unbiased point of view. It’s important that your “outsider” be committed to the success of the mentoring relationship – not simply committed to making you right!
“For every two Baby Boomers leaving the workforce only one young professional will fill their spot.” – Census data
The vast majority of today’s young professionals are in serious need of strong mentors. That is, those willing to help them see how to successfully navigate their careers. They need the guidance and are eager to gain your support. Since the majority of them have never received feedback and many of them have never been allowed to experience failure, they need someone who is willing and able to help them grow.
Fortunately, their growth is a huge advantage to any company or leader. The more time and energy you put into your people, the more they will give you.