Mentoring Can Improve Your Leadership Skills
Many people believe that you are either born with leadership skills or you are not. Although some people are natural born leaders, it is possible to learn how to lead and mentoring could do just that. Besides, we often don’t talk about the skills you can strengthen from being a mentor.
If you want to grow as a leader, consider these leadership skills one gains from a mentoring relationship.
Three Leadership Skills You Can Gain from Mentoring
1. Become a more effective listener.
For many leaders suffering from information overload, listening intently may be a challenge. And it may be even just as difficult to give everyone your undivided attention. Mentoring, on a regular basis, may help you train yourself to focus your full attention on others when they’re speaking to you. This is one practice could pay dividends in your leadership development.
2. Broaden your perspective.
Mentoring may help you see things with new eyes. Consider mentoring people who are not like you. This may include people in different industries or generations, the opposite gender, people with disabilities or a military background to name a few. Diversity in mentoring opportunities may help you see multiple perspectives, which can expand and enrich your thinking. This shift in thinking may also enhance your problem-solving skills by helping you generate multiple solutions to a problem. It’s all about helping you develop leadership agility.
3. Sharpen your storytelling abilities.
Mentoring is not about telling people to do this or that. Rather it’s about showing them the possibilities. One of the most memorable ways of doing this is through storytelling. Stories are the glue that can help make your message stick. I’m sure there are many stories from your own experience that can help those you mentor. Storytelling can also be useful in your own role as a leader. Yet you may be reluctant to use storytelling because you may feel that you don’t have the required skills. That’s where practicing storytelling within a mentoring relationship may help. Such relationships usually provide a safe environment because they’re generally based on mutual trust. Storytelling in this arena becomes a win-win for both parties.
Benefits for Mentor and Mentee
Finally, mentoring is more than giving advice, knowledge and insight. I have found the relationship offers reciprocal benefits for both mentor and the professional being mentored. It’s always the personal satisfaction of helping others learn and discover their hidden potential that’s most impactful to me.
What about you?
Interested in learning more about mentoring next generation municipal government leaders? I will be speaking on that topic at the PA Borough Council Association Conference on May 9th.