Mistakes and Mentorship

How much should you trust your teams? Should you micro-manage or risk their mistakes that could land you in a soup you don’t necessarily want to swim in? What style of mentoring is the best form of mentoring?

I find that to be a good mentor you need, first and foremost, to be true to who you are. The instant people find a false note … the crown will start to slip.

Senior executives, C-suiters, bosses, owners face the challenge of discerning the suck uppers and A-lickers from the genuine, smart, proactive doers and thinkers. Very often the comfort of hearing one’s praise and having people agree with every little ‘gem’ that is uttered, is too much of a lure. To be really good at one’s job, one has to cultivate a team that is allowed to question, stumble, learn, fix and take accountability for tasks they are assigned. Bosses will have to accept that their subordinates can challenge their thinking or disagree with their point of view. But there’s a catch. Does the disagreement come with a supporting rationale or an alternative suggestion or is it just a disagreement for the sake of being bratty?

The challenges of leadership are steering a boat full of independent minded individuals having one goal. It is not an easy task and hence good leaders are tough to find.

Some ‘mistakes’ and failures are an inevitable part of the process of guiding and mentoring but teams need to be aware that there is a way of coming back from mistakes, to unlearn and relearn, better their process and to take pride in what they do.

You find someone on your team who is quick to pass the buck or blame outside forces … pause and watch this person closely. You will probably spot a trend of shirking accountability. Of failing to take onus. Of not fixing problems.

Teams should be built carefully. A team that takes pride in their work and is confident they have a net … just like acrobats … they will define success or failure.

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