Mentoring and the Transformation of Your Organization – Nu Leadership Series

“Character is power.”
Booker T. Washington

Do you want to build an army of outstanding leaders in your organization? What are you doing to make it happen? Mentoring is an effective way to accomplish that goal. While discipling involves character building, the focus of mentoring is skill development. Chip Bell, a mentoring expert, defines mentoring as the “act of helping another learn. Mentoring is about teaching through consultation rather than placing restrictions. According to Hackman and Johnson, authors of Leadership: A Communication Perspective, mentors often become sounding boards for their protégés. Why should you waste time mentoring employees? Let’s analyze the mentor-discipling
nuances. Discipling and mentoring can compliment each other. According to Organ and Bateman (organizational behavior gurus), close mentor-protégé relationships can be invaluable to younger people seeking professional competence. Allen and Poteet, mentoring experts, further that state mentor relationships are used to teach the protégé about his job, provide organizational insight, and address personal issues. Discipling is usually conducted to a broader audience. Mentoring can be seen as advanced discipleship. The primary emphasis in most businesses is career/skill development, not character building.

If you follow my logic, let’s explore a mentoring application. Do you remember the hit TV series Dallas? It showcased the Ewings, a wealthy Texas family. You have J.R, a greedy oil tycoon. Can you imagine J.R. instructing his protégé about advancement? Stab your co-worker in her back. Get ahead by any means necessary. Is this character building? The focus of most organizations is not character building. Discipling is not perfect either. Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus, his teacher (John 18:1-8). Where are the process flaws? The infallibility of mankind and individual choice! Mentoring/discipling are only tools. Here are things to consider what discussing any mentoring for your organization:

· Do you feel that mentoring is beneficial (if not, move on)?
· Will mentoring employees help your organization to compete?
· Do you have the right people for mentoring others?
· Are you going to have a formal or informal mentoring program?
· Are you willing to survey your employees for any interest?

Sadly, many managers are missing out on building effective relationships with followers. One veteran worker explained that no one had every mentored her; she felt she could have benefited from the process, however. Her managers simply did not care. This generation of young workers are concerned about a caring organization. Mentoring can be a positive effort toward leadership development. Rev. Isaiah Blackman, the founder of mentoring organization for addicts called the Strength & Recovery Program, sees mentoring as a vital ingredient in growing young leaders. Selecting the right mentor for each person is critical. Rev. Blackman argues, “Young people often gravitate toward adults who take an interested in them. That’s why it’s important to have the right people mentoring.”

In summary, discipling and mentoring are both vital for life transformations. Don’t get caught not using it. Start today.

References:

Adsit, C. (2005). Go and Make What. Disciplemakers, International, Retrieved October 4, 2005, from http://www.milmin.com/resources/discipleship/gomakewhat.htm

Allen, T. & Poteet, M. (1999). Developing Effective Mentoring Relationships: Strategies from the Mentor’s Viewpoint. The Career Development Quarterly. Vol. 48, pg. 59-73

Bell (2002) . Managers as Mentors. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler’s Publishers, Inc.

Johnson, C. & Hackman, M. (2000). Leadership: A Communication Perspective. Waveland Press.

Organ, D. & Bateman, T. (1991). Organizational Behavior. Homewood, IL and Boston, MA: Irwin.

© 2006 by Daryl D. Green

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