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Everything You Need To Know About Mentoring Future Leaders

  • Omer Usanmaz
  • May 4 2022

Do you know what is common between Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs, Ratan Tata, and Bill Gates? They are leaders who show the capability to transform their vision into reality. Leadership is not a position but an action that positively influences people through learning rather than authority.

Leadership is an attribute that takes years to develop. It requires proper mentoring, a keen inclination toward learning from failures, a passion for following role models, and an inner drive to succeed with humility. Senior leaders in an organization often find performance challenges staring at them due to lack of time, high work pressure, ambitious functional targets, etc. This is when collaborative mentoring helps experienced professionals keen to take up leadership roles.

This article will delve deeper into how contemporary mentoring can confidently empower effective leaders to ace different leadership levels.

Why should there be formal mentoring of senior executives?

Today, with competition thriving in every industry, business professionals seek additional tools and resources to progress in their career paths. Both early-stage professionals and experienced business owners face business challenges that are not easy to tackle. In such scenarios, effective mentoring and coaching programs assist ambitious professionals in becoming effective leaders.

Here are the major reasons formal coaching programs are essential for transforming employees into leaders.

- Boost in Employee Retention

Career-driven employees are constantly on the lookout for a leadership opportunity that can boost their personal and professional graphs. In their hunt for such lucrative opportunities, they tend to leave their current organization if they do not see a clear growth path. This creates a need for companies to incorporate beneficial mentoring situations that can provide an ambitious direction for employee growth and development. The whole mentoring experience drives employee retention, leading to win-win solutions for professionals and businesses alike.

- Increase in Employee Engagement

The lack of opportunities to engage and interact within an organization can result in poor employee experience. However, learning and development workshops can build effective bonds through mentoring and increase employee engagement in an organization.

- Clarity in Career Plan

Business executives enter a company with high aspirations of career development. The lack of clarity in understanding the trajectory of this path leads to employee attrition. Thus, companies must provide a clear path for future leaders to grow. This can be facilitated through various mentorship styles like the reverse mentoring program, peer-to-peer mentorship, group mentorship, etc.

- Exposure to Company Culture Training

The leaders of tomorrow need to imbibe and inculcate the basics of company culture with conviction. The entire mentoring program can be structured to provide glimpses of the company values, company mission and other important aspects of the organization to employees who exhibit leadership qualities.

Leadership skills to internalize from reverse mentoring

A true leader helps you identify and tread on your own path rather than simply showing a path they took earlier. In a corporate environment, access to knowledge is not as easy as it seems. You must go the extra mile in interacting with the right people, figure out role models and get inspired by them, and work on action plans that take you closer to your professional goal of becoming powerful leaders. In the same way, companies must spot and support employees who show immense leadership potential and mentor them to manage leadership pipelines in the organization.

Take a look at the leadership skills you can develop through effective mentoring programs.

- Effective communication

Clarity and class in communication can elevate your image as a strong leader in a professional setting. Whether internal or external communication, it has to be relevant and compelling for your audience to understand and follow your words. Mentoring can help you gain confidence while communicating with your peers and other leaders.

- Meaningful networking

Mentorship provides a great platform for budding leaders to interact with influential professionals and grow their network smartly. A reverse mentoring program is also an excellent way to access a knowledgeable pool of company resources and build connections.

- Efficient delegation

Management of resources or teams depends on your capability to delegate work smartly. Identifying your team members' strengths and areas of improvement and assigning work accordingly is a rare yet true quality of a great leader.

- Active listening skills

Mentorship teaches a potential leader to be a great listener. It is essential to listen to your team members, peers and superiors before passing on a judgment.

- Strategic problem-solving capability

Every leader has to face critical scenarios at work. However, only a strong leader can strategically look for ways to solve the problem rather than gripe about it. Effective mentoring molds professionals to face unforeseen challenges with vigor and valor.

- Insightful guidance  

A leader is not someone who just gathers all the knowledge but is the one who imparts their ability to help others scale higher. Learn to guide others through the guidance received from proper mentorship programs.

How to identify the right leadership style for mentoring senior leaders?

Mentors deploy different leadership styles based on the situations they face at work. Have a look at some of the most popular leadership styles -

- Autocratic leadership

As the name suggests, this style refers to a scenario where a leader prefers to take their own decisions without taking into account the opinion of others.

- Authoritative leadership

These leaders make their own decisions but with proper reasoning. They let others know the reason behind their decision.

- Democratic leadership

A democratic leader considers the thoughts and ideas of others involved in the matter before making a beneficial decision.

- Coach-style leadership

Coaches are similar to mentors who impart knowledge to other employees for achieving common business goals like career development, employee retention, skill enhancement, etc.

Enabling employees with leadership potential to scale higher

What can you do to retain your employees, with soaring attrition rates, and help them become leaders of tomorrow?

  1. Build a two-way mentoring path

It is often misinterpreted that only senior leaders in a company can mentor young professionals. A reverse mentoring program allows less-experienced employees to mentor senior executives by sharing niche skills and experiences, enabling a two-way communication path. Future leaders feel empowered when they have a sense of responsibility, confidence, and conviction.

  1.  Facilitate flexible mentoring sessions

They say - necessity is the mother of invention. With the onset of the pandemic, corporations had to think of innovative and flexible ways to shape the new leaders of tomorrow. Virtual mentoring became popular, and since then, employees have preferred flexible options to build their leadership skills.

  1. Adopt a democratic style of leadership

Every strong-willed professional wants to be heard and valued in an organization. Adopting a democratic approach makes it easier for young professionals to share their thoughts on important matters and feel satisfied with contributing to the success of a project or task.

  1. Invite external mentors

Having new faces as mentors makes the program an interesting and impactful one. Able coaches or mentors from other organizations bring many different experiences that can make future leaders ready to face various business challenges with complete confidence.

  1. Keep it simple and effective.

Simplicity is the key to success. Maintain a simple program structure for high effectiveness. Ensure that you have an agenda for the program drawn out and shared with the stakeholders. Keep the sessions short and relevant. Have stipulated time for discussions and feedback. Budding leaders are bound to be inspired by these simple yet significant steps.

  1. Provide a networking platform

An interactive platform where prospective leaders can connect, communicate, and convert their ideas into actionable insights is an exceptional way to design your mentoring program.

  1. Monitor and measure the impact of mentoring.

The performance of a program can be evaluated by the impact of the mentoring sessions on potential leaders, thus, helping them grow in the right direction. Tracking the progress of the program and measuring its success is as important as the program itself.

Invest today to shape the leaders of tomorrow

Employees with a keen interest in leading are assets to any organization. Mentoring such professionals with the right resources and tools will only yield beneficial results for the employees and the employer. Employee satisfaction, employee retention, steady growth and development of employees, inculcation of company culture, and company revenue boost are a few desired outcomes of mentoring future leaders.

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