The world needs more leaders. As leaders retire, the leaders being raised up today will be the leaders leading the organizations you work for and love.
What does this mean to you? It means that you have a huge responsibility. You have to be willing to step up to mentor and develop future leaders.
John Maxwell said that leadership is influence. This means you have the influence to change the lives of those you lead. Why not use your influence to mentor and develop the leaders of tomorrow?
How To Mentor And Develop Future Leaders
Bob Proctor, author and successful businessman, once said
A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you, than you see in yourself, and helps bring it out of you.
That’s what a great mentor does. Great mentors look at the people around them, see the potential within another person, and help develop their talents and abilities into something extraordinary. Even when the mentee doesn’t see it.
To mentor and develop future leaders, you must be willing to do the following:
Make connections: The best leaders have some of the best connections. They know who to go to when the job needs to get done. That means you have those connections that you can pass on to future leaders. Look for ways to network and connect those you see potential within. Pass on your network to the future generation.
Encourage and support: Great mentors don’t just teach; they offer encouragement and support. You realize you didn’t always have the confidence, skills, or wisdom to lead well. That came from trying and failing. Along with those failures, you had someone beside you who encouraged you to keep going. Your best leaders also gave you support to get back up. Be the encouragement and support someone needs today.
Continually learn: The growth of others cannot happen without your own personal growth journey. To help others, you must take in new movies, books, and conferences. These tools will help you to grow your knowledge so you can be the well of knowledge to someone else. Don’t stop learning.
The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.
— Steven Spielberg
Reflect and evaluate: If you have created a formal mentoring relationship, you need to carve out time to reflect and evaluate the mentorship process. This happens in two ways. One, you help the mentee reflect and evaluate what they’ve learned, implemented, and grown from during the mentoring sessions. This helps them understand how much they’ve grown. The other way is to reflect upon yourself. What have you learned? How have you helped the mentee grow and evolve? These are important things to look back upon.
Strategies For Developing Future Leaders
The above strategies will help you grow and develop future leaders. But there are more things you can do to create future leaders. What else can you do?
Identify potential leaders: While I believe everyone has the potential to be a leader, not everyone is willing to be a leader. This is where your discernment comes in. Evaluate the people you’re leading. Understand who has the potential to be a rockstar leader and approach them to see if they’re open to a mentoring relationship.
Invest in leadership training for others: Many leaders never truly develop because they lack the tools to learn and grow. Some of the responsibility for that lies on the person who never develops. However, some of it also lies with the leader of those people. You know the value of training and personal development. Help them to understand it as well by providing investments in the training.
Share what you’re learning: Future leaders know they have to look for mentors. They want to see people who are growing, learning, and becoming better leaders. You have an opportunity to share what you’re learning with these potential leaders. Keep learning and growing and sharing what you’re learning with those you lead.
Create mentoring and coaching opportunities: Do you want to have future leaders stick with you and your organization? Then create formal mentoring and coaching opportunities. You can develop a curriculum or class that guides future leaders through the process. You can invite new people into the learning experience each quarter and year.
The more you do to invite future leaders into a mentoring and development opportunity, the more they will take you up on it. Don’t be the leader who wonders where all the next-generation leaders are.
They’re in your organization. You only have to help develop and grow them.