It would be hard to find a successful leader who is unable to point to a person or people who guided their path through good counsel and encouragement. As you read this, you are probably already thinking about your own experience. Who helped you get to where you are today? What did they say or do that made a difference?
Leaders are often measured on how they shape the capability of the next generation of leaders as well as their personal achievements. So, are you helping others as you have been helped yourself? What do you think people will remember in years to come about your impact on their success in their careers?
How will they describe your leadership legacy?
Of course, everything you do in managing your business and your people speaks volumes about your understanding of the way leaders develop. People build capability at work by taking on different jobs and learning from others. And, who better to guide them than experienced leaders who know and understand the intricacies of what it will take to succeed in their business and industry?
There are compelling reasons for organisations to tap into this valuable source of expertise. They face generational change and successors must be prepared for leadership roles. Economic conditions, lean organisations and pressures to perform mean that fewer people are doing more work, so sharing expertise and best practices are critical.
This is where mentoring comes in – a powerful process where the leaders of today are preparing the leaders of tomorrow. From an organisational point of view, mentoring is instrumental in achieving higher levels of employee engagement in three key areas:
- development opportunities
- career advancement prospects
- trust in senior management.
Organisations worldwide recognize these benefits and some actively encourage mentoring through formal programs. A growing trend is “reverse mentoring’ where a junior employee provides guidance to a senior leader, typically in areas of technology. A double benefit!