Leadership isn’t easy, and regardless of the size of your team, the reach of your organisation or how long you’ve been in a senior role, you can always use advice from time to time. But being a leader is also a lonely occupation. Your peers are limited, you must retain a healthy distance from your subordinates, and people from your personal life may not understand – so who can you turn to?
The answer? A mentor
Many professionals in their earlier careers rely on mentors to develop their skills and aptitudes in anticipation of more senior roles later, but that relationship does not have to diminish over time. Likewise, it’s never too late to approach a mentor if you’ve never had one before.
Here are three reasons why leaders still need mentors:
Talk openly about your concerns and the stresses of leadership
If your mentor is of a similar background to you, they’ll understand l the stresses of leadership, and if they have the benefit of extra experience, can help unburden those stresses with solid advice. They could also provide some solutions to the challenges you are facing, and better equip you to face similar problems in the future.
Mentors can help bring personal and business goals into line
Having a mentor will also help you balance your own ambitions against the goals of your organization. . Your mentor may also have a wide range of contacts which may prove invaluable when it comes to progressing your career and completing projects within your organisation.
Mentors can also ease the transition from one phase of your career to the next, or when moving to a new job.
Mentors will call you out
While colleagues and subordinates are more likely to go along with plans unquestioningly, a mentor will offer candid advice exactly when you need to hear it. Their constructive criticism can lead to improved results, which would elevate your own standing and that of your organisation.
Be prepared to be pushed out of your comfort zone as your mentor may come up with innovative ideas and advice which take you beyond your normal boundaries. An ability to be flexible in your approach is important as a mentor will also pick up on your weak areas, and help you develop them to reach the next stage of your career.