Want to give an employee or colleague a gift but aren’t sure what to give? How about something they’ll appreciate for a lifetime: the gift of mentoring.
As Marshall Goldsmith wrote on the topic of his book, Managers as Mentors: Building Partnerships for Learning, “Mentoring is an honor. Except for love, there is no greater gift one can give another than the gift of growth. It is a rare privilege to help another learn, have the relevant wisdom to be useful to another, and partner with someone who can benefit from that wisdom.”
It was once an honor to be named a mentor, but this esteemed achievement has become less of a priority for most. The Society for Human Resources conducted a survey to identify the top challenges HR CEOs will face up until 2022 – one of the top challenges: Developing the Next Generation of Leaders.
Goldsmith is right, mentoring another is a privilege. Do you possess these characteristics associated with a good mentor?
3 Key Characteristics of a good Mentor
- Be Present & Open.
There is no worse feeling than feeling like you don’t matter. In today’s world of hurry, it’s very important to slow down and ensure you are communicating to your mentee(s), That means more than simply returning emails promptly, but creating an honest and open environment where you are accessible at all times.
- A Good Communicator & Listener.
Be transparent in your communications. You should articulate constructive feedback, while also maintaining an upbeat, thoughtful and respectful response. An effective mentor is not only a good communicator but an even better listener. You should act as a sounding board and then give proactive feedback for the mentee to really learn and develop.
- A willingness to Learn & Share.
Good mentors are knowledge hunters who are always interested in learning new things. The collaboration aspect that results from mentoring is what really makes it an added treat for the mentor. That said, it’s easy to have the willingness to share your thoughts and ideas, but are you able to articulate it in a way that gives credit to others and keeps you humble while casting others in the spotlight?
When done right, mentorship is a gift that continues to give well beyond the span of the relationship, and it’s not limited to a professional environment. Regardless of how you view mentorship, use the invaluable opportunity to help someone become the best version of themselves.