Here’s a question: as a leader do you need to know what’s happening in your employees’ personal lives? Do you need to know if someone is getting a divorce or planning to buy a house?
Of course! Only when you know what your employees are going through, can you offer guidance when they need it the most. If you think that sounds more like a mentor than a leader, I’ve got news for you: a good leader is also a mentor.
If you want your people to do the best they can, you need to invest time developing a relationship which gives them a sense of empowerment and inspiration. After all, mentorship involves a lot more than just being buddies with your staff, but coaching them, helping them to understand themselves and to progress in their career. How do you that? Here are six key characteristics a true leader (and ultimately a mentor) has.
- A shaper: A good mentor instills values like patience, gratitude, integrity and loyalty. They lead by example and give back beyond the call of duty. Most importantly, they offer guidance when you need it the most.
- An inspirer: A true leader knows how to ask the right questions instead of always providing answers – they know how to inspire enthusiasm and encourage a curiosity to learn and develop.
- An empathy builder: A mentor is someone who learns about you, senses when to give feedback and consistently reminds you that your success depends on how much you help others around you succeed. They remind you to really listen to your team members and anticipate their needs.
- A builder of confidence: Not only does a mentor build on your strengths, they help identify areas of opportunities in your own personality you weren’t aware of. In a sense, they curate your life.
- A lateral thinker: They get you to focus on what is important by pushing you to work not just harder but also smarter and mastering the art of time management.
- A connector of dots: Great leaders are able to see the big picture and understand the connections between otherwise unrelated elements through their unique perspective and years of experience.
And finally, as a mentee remember the relationship works two-ways. If you find a good mentor stay humble and agile. Respect their time and work hard to take on their recommendations. And don’t forget the people who mentor you outside of the workplace. Parents often are our first mentors, I was lucky enough to have a father who shaped me into the man I am. Whoever your mentor is reach out and #ThankYourMentor today.
This article was originally published on LinkedIn Pulse.