One of the most important parts of my life is building the next generation of leaders. I find that I have an affinity for mentoring others, and really enjoy it. I also think that it is very important to teach others to fish for themselves, so that they can lead. I do this in my professional life at work, by mentoring colleagues, and the people who work for me. I do this at home with my own children. I also am very engaged in building the next generation of leaders through Girl Scouts. I find that no matter where I am, and who I am working with, there are a few things I find myself doing over and over again.
Tips for Building the Next Generation of Leaders
- Give support, but do not do the task for the person learning. To me, it’s important to know that I have someone who can answer questions, but is willing to let me try. Therefore when I am mentoring people, I let them know that I’m available to answer questions, but I am not going to do everything for them. If they find themselves floundering, I will step in. Otherwise, I will let them explore the problem a bit before intervening.
- Help Set Goals. Help people identify their goals, and what steps are necessary to get there. Having a goal in mind is key to knowing where to go and what to do. This gets back to the 7 habits of highly effective people- Begin with the End in Mind. I find that many people need help setting those goals, and can be helped just by asking a lot of questions about what they themselves want. They usually come up with the answer on their own, and set up a plan, once coached.
- Create a Supportive Environment Where Calculated Risks are Encouraged. I personally find it hard to step out and try something new, to challenge long-held beliefs, or the status-quo. I try to give those whom I am mentoring a chance to spread their wings, and realize that they can reach great heights with a bit of calculated risk-taking. I encourage people to think and try new things. Many times they are very successful, and amazed at what they can do.
To me, it is easy to get people to follow you, but far trickier to build other leaders. I challenge you to build those around you, and build the next generation into great leaders.