Want to give your employee or colleague a gift but aren't sure what? Give them something they'll appreciate for a lifetime: the gift of mentoring.
In the words of Marshall Goldsmith, a leading author in helping leaders achieve positive change in behavior, “Except for love, there is no greater gift one can give another than the gift of growth”. It was once considered an honor to be named a mentor. But has this esteemed professional achievement has gone by the wayside?
According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), one of the top HR leadership challenges is retaining and rewarding the best employees. Mentoring not only assists in solving this problem, but has the added bonus of providing a mutually fulfilling relationship for both the mentor and the mentee.
3 Key Characteristics of a Good Mentor
It is a privilege to help someone improve their knowledge and skills to better equip to compete in the workforce. Do you possess the key characteristics associated with a good mentor?
Be Present & Open
There is no worse feeling in the world than the feeling that you don’t matter. In today’s age of hurry up and move on, it is very important to slow down and ensure you are communicating to your mentee. Be prepared to be physically present for your mentee. That means more than simply returning voicemails and emails promptly, but also creating an honest open environment where you are accessible to the them.
A Good Communicator & Listener
On the subject of honesty, be transparent in your communications. Be able to articulate constructive feedback while maintaining an upbeat, thoughtful, and respectful response. Consider that a really effective mentor is not only a good communicator, but an even better listener. You need to act as a sounding board in order for the mentee to really learn and develop from you.
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A Willingness to Learn & Share
Good mentors are knowledge seekers who are always interested in learning new things. The collaboration and insights that results from mentoring is what really makes it an added treat for the mentor. With that being said, it is easy to have the willingness to share your knowledge, insights, and ideas, but are you able to articulate it? What about give credit to others? Being a mentor means having the confidence to lead and the humbleness to cast others in the spotlight.
If done right, mentorship is a gift that will continue to give well beyond the span of the relationship. And, it's not limited to the professional environment. There are a number of national and local organizations that can use the influence of a strong leader. Regardless of how you approach mentorship, use this invaluable opportunity to help someone become the best version of themselves.