Nili Goldfein, CEO at NGG Global Learning Solutions, sees today’s managers and leaders as mentors. They don’t tell people what to do, they help them achieve their goals
True leaders are able to make people around them feel that they are maximizing their potential. Effective leadership means that the leader makes followers aware of their skills and abilities so that they dare to take risks, to experiment, to play. Leaders create a work environment that allows all of its members to express themselves. Together, the team members create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. And they have a great time making that happen.
Self-awareness is crucial for moving forward in a complicated world. No one really knows what the environment will look like, what its components will be, and what kind of dynamics to expect. How to develop this awareness is a different subject, but suffice to say that it is difficult to apply. What we do know is that it is much easier to develop awareness, learn about yourself and about your weaknesses and strengths when you have a mentor – someone who cares about you and admires you. Someone who sees the good in you and wants to help you dig deep and find the diamond within you.
Post-modern leaders don’t tell people what to do. If they are good leaders, they help them mine the coals and reach the diamond inside. They have faith. They can see through the coals – straight through to the diamond, even when the individual can’t yet see it and doesn’t even believe that it exists. Good managers are first and foremost good mentors. They are not commanders or teachers. They courageously and compassionately tell their employees the painful truth when necessary, in order to facilitate growth. They are fully supportive and praise the person or the action when praise is deserved. They do not focus on themselves, they enable others.
A tip for business leaders
Hire good people and don’t try to convert them into mirror images of yourself. Allow them to maximize themselves through courage and compassion. People will forget what you said to them, but they will never forget how you made them feel. Make them feel good about themselves even when they fail. Teach them to view failure as a lesson. Cause them to rejoice in their own success and don’t try to appropriate their success. On the contrary, give them the credit. You will never regret it because it will earn you their everlasting loyalty, which is worth much more than a single success.
And as usual, we will end with a segment from Kung Fu Panda that talks about leadership and mentoring, even when the person you are mentoring doesn’t seem very promising. Keep the faith!