I’ve mentored many people in my career. When people first started coming to me for advice, it was a good feeling. I felt like I was helping others to become better leaders.
It didn’t take long for me to realize that I was benefiting almost as much as the people I mentored. By mentoring others, I was becoming a better leader. Here’s how I found that mentoring makes you a better leader:
1) You are more likely follow your own advice.
Repetition makes things sink in people’s heads. That’s why we hear the same commercials and advertising slogans over and over on TV and radio. I’m still working on that with the “clean your room” thing with my kids. I’m sure it will work eventually though.
When a mentor gives advice to a mentee, the information she has heard in her mind all this time is repeated out loud. It not only sinks in for the mentee. The mentor feels a responsibility to follow the advice herself.
2) It makes you rethink your lessons learned
Everyone knows you should learn from your mistakes. But not everyone puts that completely into practice. You may say to yourself, “I’m not going to do that again.” But in your embarrassment, you don’t want to focus on that awkward moment. You focus more on your successes and move on.
But then, someone you’re mentoring starts to go down that same path. It makes you remember that time you screwed up. So you offer some advice from someone who has made the same mistake. In the process, you reflect on what you really learned from that situation.
You end up helping your mentee. But you also learn a greater lesson yourself by spending more time analyzing the situation.
For more information, check out How to Mentor for Maximum Benefit
3) You are more likely to share your knowledge with others
For some, mentoring is a daunting concept. Some people don’t realize how much knowledge they have. Then, once someone is asking them questions, they realize how much they have to share with others.
As a result, they begin taking more people under their wing and helping more people to succeed. Pretty soon, that person is the go-to expert in his area of knowledge.
Related post: How Your Career Advancement is Not a Zero-Sum Game
4) You’re more motivated
When you begin mentoring people, it helps to create a greater sense of self-worth. You’re not just going to work every day doing the same hum-drum work. You have renewed interest in your career. It has more meaning. You’re adding more value to others. And as a result, you feel more valuable as an employee.
5) You leave behind a legacy
It used to be that you worked at one company for your entire career. When you retired, they would have the obligatory retirement dinner, give you a gold watch, and say goodbye.
In today’s transient workplace, retirement simply means moving on. Retirement dinners and gold watches are a thing of the past. So is the reflection on a career and your legacy.
Those that leave a trail of mentees in their wake, however, find that they are remembered by them. Like a favorite teacher, they keep in touch with you. They may even meet you for coffee or lunch on occasion.
Related post: Why Your Legacy Matters
As a mentor and a leader, you will take joy in watching them continue to succeed, knowing that you had some influence in their accomplishments.
Mentoring is a great opportunity to give back and share your knowledge with people with less experience or knowledge. There is also something in it for the mentor. By mentoring, the mentor develops into a stronger leader and a better contributor to the organization.
How has mentoring made you a better leader?
I welcome your questions and comments.