Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Developing management and leadership skills in others – 7: teaching mentoring skills

Posted in HR and personnel by Timothy Platt on February 6, 2012

This is my seventh installment on mentoring and on developing management and leadership skills in others (see HR and Personnel, postings 81-85 and 87 for parts 1-6.) I have been writing in this series about mentoring and the development of a culture of mentorship and about the sharing of best practices in management and leadership. With this posting I complete the circle with a discussion of training others to be effective, engaged mentors in this type of system.

• Mentor the people who you would want to see become effective mentors so they have positive experience and positive mentorship role models to develop this from in themselves.
• Be supportive of your would-be mentors, addressing their concerns. That means addressing potential challenges of favoritism that might arise for them. That means including this in their job descriptions and giving them the time to include mentoring in their responsibilities and as a part of their schedules. But mostly this means listen to their concerns and addressing their questions.
• Make the roles of mentee and mentor standard ways to share knowledge, perspective and experience, and both as individual career development tools and as a way to share best practices throughout the organization. Present this as one of the organization’s strengths and virtues that everyone on the team participate, gaining and sharing value.
• And set the example by actively participating in this culture of mentorship and from the top on down. If an organization’s senior leadership does not walk the talk for this no one else will feel enabled to do so either.

This is not a long posting by any means but it is a very important one, and both for this series and for the blog as a whole. Mentors are peers and colleagues, and not superiors in any way – not in this and regardless of relative positions between mentor and mentee on the table of organization. They are peers with value to offer and mentorship is a way to share that value and throughout an organization. And valuable insight can flow in any direction. When we work in complex organizations we are surrounded by potential sources of insight and knowledge that we could be tapping into and to mutual benefit. This posting and this series are all about systematically enabling achieving that.

I am certain that I will be coming back to the general topics of mentoring and building a culture of mentorship in future postings. Meanwhile, you can find this series and related postings at HR and Personnel and further related postings at Business Strategy and Operations and at its continuation page: Business Strategy and Operations – 2.

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