One of my favorite quotes about leadership is from John C. Maxwell: “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the ways, and shows the way.” It speaks to three important qualities of leadership: knowledge, action, and mentorship. And while all three are important, that last one—being a good mentor—is what will really take your leadership to the next level.
Leadership is not just about having knowledge or taking charge and doing things. It’s about coaching, encouraging, and mentoring others. It’s about empowering your employees and team to do their best work. Leadership without mentorship is impossible. So, what is mentorship, and how can you become a better mentor?
The Importance of Mentorship
No one really likes being told what to do, right? We would all prefer to figure things out on our own or follow through with what we think is the best course of action. Traditional forms of leadership have relied on the leader or manager to tell their employees what to do in a top-down manner.
Talk about discouraging. Talk about taking away choice and autonomy.
Instead, leaders should mentor their staff teams. Mentorship empowers other people and encourages them to do their best work by showing them the way and then letting them go for it. There are a lot of benefits of mentorship—this article has a compilation of impactful stats related to mentorship. Some highlights include:
- 90% of employees with a mentor report being happy at their current job.
- Employees in a mentoring program have a 50% higher retention rate.
- Leaders who mentor junior employees are twice as likely to be aware of their colleagues’ concerns.
- 25% of mentees had an increase in their salary.
So, mentorship is good for retention, professional development, and awareness. Leaders need to start focusing on mentorship today.
How to Be a Mentor
Being a mentor takes time and effort. And, in a lot of ways, it’s more challenging than more traditional forms of leadership. You need to be willing to invest in employees and spend time with their personal development.
Mentors share a few common characteristics. I love this list of leadership qualities that John Maxwell put together:
- Character: Leaders act with integrity at all times.
- Positive attitude: Mentors focus on the positive side of things and lead with encouragement.
- Self-discipline: Leaders are in control of their emotions and their schedules.
- People skills: Mentors know how to collaborate with people and interact positively.
- Discontentment with the status quo: Leaders and mentors want to hit big goals and dreams, and they encourage others to do so by thinking outside the box!
What mentorship really comes down to is care—care for your employees, both personally and professionally. By mentoring them, you help them step up into the next phase of their career and grow their skills. Mentorship is a selfless leadership style that helps create more leaders.
I work daily to be a strong leader and mentor for my team at Shamrock Roofing in Kansas City. Because I know that without them, we are nothing. The team makes the company, and the leader supports the team. If you want to get in touch, feel free to connect with me. Or check out Shamrock Roofing Kansas City for any roofing needs!