June 10, 2019
Always Be Mentoring
Whenever I join a team, I typically meet everyone for one-on-one conversations. I’ll ask them about their work, what they would really like to be doing and where their interests lie outside of work (some of the most boring people you know at work have the most interesting lives outside the office!). As part of these conversations, I can begin to understand the skill sets people have and who has that hunger in their belly to learn more, be more, do more.
Since I have been doing this a while, I have learned a few things. I’ve seen a lot of stupid stuff happen and bad decisions being made. I’ve also seen brilliance and had surprise encounters that created things that changed the world. As I’ve aged, I have become more and more determined to make my legacy about the next generation of leaders. There are some really, really “bad hombres” out there, but there are plenty of human beings out there determined to make this planet a better place as well. I want to leave this place better than when I first got here and the only way I can do that is through building true leaders.
Leadership comes naturally to some people and you can recognize those people regardless of what position they’re in. They may be a janitor, or a security guard, or the waitress, and not necessarily in the C-level suite. I used to work with a lot of younger Indian executives who constantly came in wearing suits and ties to work the night shift at a call center focused on calling the United States. Even though I was the head of the entire India center, I came in in jeans and simple shirts.
The power doesn’t come from the suit; it comes from within.
Once you find these potential leaders, find out for yourself if they are willing to transform, do the work involved to get that next promotion, get down in the trenches with the workers and ensure the work is done properly on time. People who insist upon respect simply due to having a particular title need to earn that respect, and you can only get that by sharing your knowledge, being there for them, teaching them. I have a four part plan that always works:
1. WATCH ME DO.
2. HELP ME DO.
3. NOW YOU DO.
4. SHOW SOMEONE ELSE HOW YOU DO.
Mentoring is simple enough with these rules in place for just about any hard or soft skill requirement.