You are not leading if you are not developing new leaders. Simply developing followers who flesh out your ideas and implement your vision won’t cut it.
Having followers is not the defining characteristic of leadership. At its very core, leadership facilitates change. After all, if you are not leading people and teams toward change, what are you leading them to do? To be?
Change is not easy. It’s difficult – not for the faint of heart. And developing people – new leaders – adds more complexity to the mix.
To develop new leaders, you must be willing to invest in people – to mentor them. And mentoring will require more of your time and your resources than you ever thought possible.
And it’s worth it. Because leaders mentor new leaders. And those new leaders will change the global marketplace.
There’s no need to worry about your position, your age, your place in life, your limitations. They don’t matter – they’re only excuses!
You’ve walked where someone hasn’t. And you can help them – if you dare.
Last week I received a phone call from a friend. He called to let me know that he began working on creating a personal life plan this week.
For several years I’ve been sharing my life planning experiences with this friend and the dramatic improvements I’ve seen in my life and work.
So he decided last week that it was time for him to get started. If he follows through, his life will be forever changed.
I recently heard Bruce Prindle talk about mentoring – he noted 3 ways that leaders mentor new leaders. Here they are:
1. Fully Committed
Mentor leaders devote themselves selflessly to those they mentor. It’s deeply personal. They fully realize what’s at stake.
Being an only child, our daughter, Madison, learned to entertain herself at a very young age. She would spend hours telling stories to herself as she acted them out. Usually her narratives involved a mother and daughter, teacher and student, doctor and patient, etc. She’s a good mommy and a good teacher – although she gets a little bossy at times.
One afternoon several years ago, I walked past her room and overheard her tell her imaginary daughter, “Honey, I need to finish my work and then I’ll play with you.”
To which the imaginary daughter replied, “But mom, I really want to play now.”
Mommy Madison said, “I can’t play with you right now, I have to finish my work.”
At this point I walked in the room and asked her, “Madison who did you learn that from?”
She responded, “Mommy and you – I want to be just like you guys”
Are you too busy to be fully committed to mentoring new leaders?
2. Model life and work
People will take your example far more seriously than your advice. The last thing the world needs is more noise. Effective mentors talk less and live more.
And it’s not just about job function and performance. Mentor leaders help people improve holistically – physical, intellectual, spiritual, and emotional.
3. Pass it on
Mentors challenge future leaders to think creatively and work passionately. And the new leaders know that their mentor is genuinely interested in their success!
I previously wrote a post, Success – When Your Successor Is More Successful Than You, so I won’t include the same information here. But take a few moments to review the post.
If you are not mentoring a future leader, you are wasting your influence. And that’s inexcusable!
If you’ve been mentored, you understand the enormous value of the mentoring relationship. Your life and work were profoundly impacted by your leader. So pass it on to someone else.
If you don’t, well, you’re not really leading.
Question: What mentor had a profound impact on your life and work? Honor them by including their name or, if you’d prefer, a description of their influence in the comments below.