Mentoring: An Essential Function of Leadership

Winston Churchill once said, "We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give." Making a life by what you give can come in many forms. You may give money or time to a variety of worthy organizations or causes. I suggest another type of opportunity as well. If you are a leader, it is an essential function of your leadership to mentor younger leaders. Before you go walking the halls looking for a young manager to whom you can impart your wisdom, remember the following tips: 1. Mentoring grows out of relationship - for mentoring to be successful, you need to develop a relationship with the person you desire to mentor.

2. Mentoring involves listening - mentors are sounding boards who help others find their own answers.

3. Mentoring involves learning - mentors must be willing to "go on a journey" with their mentee.

4. Mentoring involves modeling - younger leaders watch you, so be willing to let them ask questions about how you handle situations.

5. Mentoring involves accountability - a mentoring relationship can be informal, but it should involve clear expectations for growth.

6. Mentoring involves objectivity - while developing a relationship is important in mentoring, boundaries must be respected and you cannot compromise your authority in the relationship.