As I’ve noted in previous blogs, I am a big supporter of mentoring and being mentored. Being a woman business leader, I’ve been lucky to receive great mentoring. But I also believe in being a supportive leader by offering mentoring to others.
Here are some mentoring tips from author Julie Rains on “7 Ways to Motivate Anyone.” Her points are geared to a corporate environment but can be applied to any mentoring situation. My suggestion, however, is that before putting these into practice, make sure that the person you are mentoring has the desire to achieve and get to where you are helping them go.
Encourage great ideas
Julie says that while it’s important to have a clear strategic direction for your company, it’s also important to hear and be open to outside ideas. You’ll be surprised at how many greats ideas your employees may have once you encourage their participation.
Don’t disparage bad ideas
While encouraging great ideas is pretty easy to do, Julie also notes that you’ll have to be prepared to listen to some pretty bad ones. To help employees self-edit before presenting every crazy idea to you, Julie suggests being very clear about company objectives, goals and direction.
Give guidance judiciously
Even when employees are empowered to come up with ideas, they may need a little guidance. Julie notes that even the most qualified employees may falter when given the opportunity to present their ideas. To help, you can be specific, clarify your desired outcomes and suggest pitfalls to avoid up front.
Match assignments with talents
If you are a pro at mentoring, you’ll already know which employees are in sync with specific projects, says Julie, and those employees will be able to self-direct without too much intervention when they reach a stumbling block.
Expect great performance
Use your passion to motivate others to rise above their expectations. But rather than appear to be too demanding, says Julie, use your own high expectations to motivate and inspire the same passion in your employees.
Give time to personal business
Expecting the highest levels of commitment from you employees starts with you. But you also need to show your commitment to your employees to make them feel respected and valuable. Make note of their milestones, says Julie, and show compassion for life crises so they know you support them.
Show and lead by example
Often, employees have trouble seeing the big picture and become entwined in the details. While being detail-oriented and focused on the tasks at hand are qualities to encourage, Julie notes that you also need to show employees that all these small tasks contribute to the bigger picture.
One thing I am certain of after years of mentoring and being mentored is that in order to make things happen, an essential ingredient is passion. You can teach people what you know, you can guide and give advice, but you cannot teach passion. This is one thing that must come from within.