Thursday, September 22, 2011

Have We Forgotten the Importance of Mentors?

In a world of 140-character communications, where relationships have been redefined as “followers,” face-to-face communications are at a premium.  That is why Makovsky focuses on mentoring, an important in-person communication that fosters growth.  Relationship building is critical here and a core service we provide for clients.

According to Webster’s Dictionary, a mentor is a trusted counselor or guide – someone who tutors or coaches someone.  But a recent discussion at Makovsky’s Leadership Management Committee, composed of vice presidents and up, revealed that a mentor is seen as much more. The mentor-mentee relationship develops, some felt, because the mentor has a unique chemistry with the mentee, believes deeply in his/her talent and potential to rise to high levels and conveys those feelings to the mentee.   The mentor establishes a vision for the mentee.

Are teaching and managing the same as mentoring?  Should everyone have a mentor?  One opinion was that everyone needs and deserves to be taught and managed, but the mentor-mentee relationship develops naturally.  Another felt that a mentor-mentee relationship can develop through effective teaching by managers who see positive development in those being managed.  One small win after another builds and enhances that relationship.

A good mentor works closely to develop the mentee and creates an environment where the mentee feels free to ask any question or express any concern. The mutual appreciation breeds loyalty on the part of both parties, fosters organizational growth and enhances employee retention. 

I’ve been very fortunate throughout my career to have had the support and attention of some very talented mentors, including the late Phil Dorf and Kalman Druck, two of the great leaders of our industry.  I want everyone in our organization  to have the same good fortune!

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