Mentoring is a partnership process that necessitates engagement from both parties. Both the mentor and the mentee have roles to play when setting the mentee up for success. Therefore, a mentor’s leadership style should consider success as integral to a beneficial relationship. Mentees are more likely to flourish in work environments where they’re held in high regard and respected as individuals. To ensure effectiveness as mentors, our leadership style should demonstrate belief in our mentees, approachability, and knowledge; provide an enjoyable work experience, and an environment for best results.
Various spiritual leaders can attest to the fact that when people feel valued they are far more effective. For instance, perceive your mentee through the eyes of where they are headed. View them not where they are in terms of accomplishments. Instead, imagine what your mentee is destined to become. Think of effective political and spiritual leaders. Could your mentee be the next JFK? Could your mentee be the next Mother Theresa? Always remember to use your knowledge to aid these mentees on their rise to fulfill their destiny. Don’t assume that their potential will get them there alone. After all, you’re a mentor for a reason. Maintain approachability by providing access to relationships you have built. This will aid the mentee on their road to success because your contacts trust your judgment. In essence, this will help mentees envision that the potential for their elevation is within their grasp. Therefore, achievement is possible and they should not doubt their ability to succeed.
Another way to express belief in our mentees is to provide an environment for an enjoyable work experience and environment for best results. As the mentor, help your mentee identify their strengths and not focus on any potential weaknesses. Remember that in order for a mentee to recognize their full potential, he or she needs the right position in your Church or organization. Don’t be opposed to transferring a talented mentee into a different job post. If you believe in them and express this to them, with your help they will find their way. Early on, identify those skills that will make them a star in the organization. As the mentor, it’s your job to provide access to the resources that will help them succeed.
Lastly, remember to always take the high road with your mentees. Remember to provide encouragement, express acknowledgement, and demonstrate gratitude for their talents. Those are three effective ways to establish your support for your mentee. When mentees have favorable feelings toward their leader, they will rise to the mentor’s expectations. To be honest, people work hard to impress those who impress them. As a positive role model, you provide words of wisdom, access to resources and relationships, and an environment that provides a foundation for their future success.
John C. Maxwell. Mentoring 101: What Every Leader Needs to Know. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, 2008.
Herb Fain is Professor of Legal and Social Ethics at Houston Graduate School of Theology.