Lendistry CEO, Everett K. Sands, takes any opportunity he can to mentor others because, “I can help them skip steps, which is essential is today’s fast environment.” Mentoring benefits him as well and helps him gain new insights.
“Sometimes when you are grinding away and so focused, you are also like a horse with a muzzle. Mentoring allows me to learn from others with a fresh perspective.”
Fresh perspective can be code for people who are younger than you, but it also means those with different experiences.
Lendistry’s Chief Credit Officer, Lynn Fernandez adds, “In mentoring you have the reward of helping others to grow, but I believe it is the mentor who learns the most and gains the most by applying new perspectives and diversity of thought to their organization.” Beyond helping someone advance their career and learn, mentoring reminds leaders of why they do what they do and how far they’ve come, “Sometimes as we gain experience we forget that what we know is new to others,” Fernandez continues. These reminders make more effective leaders and foster an attitude of personal growth and improvement.
“The perspective and understanding of others is imperative to your personal growth as a leader but also to the strategic growth of your organization. Continuous learners who engage and enable others build stronger relationships and loyalty that will benefit them in the years to come.”
So how do you become a mentor?
- Remember that a mentee doesn’t necessarily have to be younger or less experienced than you. You may just have different areas of expertise, which you can learn from each other.
- Make yourself available to your TEAM. From the day they’re hired and onward, make sure your TEAM knows you are there to help them evolve and grow. This is also great for retention, as it enriches your staff and makes them more loyal when they feel you’re there to help them develop beyond their current jobs.
- Be generous with your knowledge and connections. When you attend networking events, offer specific suggestions when you speak to other business people.
- Know that mentoring doesn’t drain your own time or resources. It’s just a higher level of relationship building.
- For those who want to test the waters, there are online venues for mentorship:
Sonny Tosco, military veteran and founder of two tech startups, initially saw mentoring as a way to help other veterans succeed in the civilian workforce, “Giving back and helping others who are on a similar path to me is incredibly important, and I recommend every professional, no matter his or her background, make it a priority to either find a mentor or become a mentor. Providing or receiving advice doesn’t have to take a lot of time — platforms like LinkedIn’s Career Advice feature, which I use to connect with other veterans in need of advice, allows anyone to seek out or provide lightweight mentorship.”
The phrase “lift as you climb” is used a lot to express this sentiment. When a door is unlocked for you, hold it open so someone else can pass through behind you.