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Mindful : August 2013
Illustrations by Jason Lee Two mindful business advisors answer your workplace questions Scenario A junior member of staff has asked for mentoring. What does this really mean? What does a good mentor do? Categorize under: The next generation Advisor Michael Carroll Mentoring is a private relation- ship between a mature, trusted leader and a talented, moti- vated protégé. The relationship requires periodic face time, so each par ty needs to be willing to be available to the other. It’s best if the person being mentored can ar ticulate up front—in writing—what they would like to learn. Mentees should take an active interest from the ver y star t in cultivat- ing the relationship, rather than expecting their mentor always to lead. Mentors should expect to offer guidance and encourage- ment on: Culture: What does the enterprise value most? What are the unspoken rules that one should be aware of? Politics: Who holds influence in the enterprise? How best can an aspiring leader contribute, inspire, and succeed? Social intelligence: What is expected of successful leaders and how should they behave? Above all, mentoring relation- ships are about mutual learning; it’s not a one-way street. It’s a collegial relationship bound by shared trust and respect. ● Michael Carroll is the author of Fearless at Work. Scenario A fantastic employee in a leadership role is pregnant and will be on a 12- week maternity leave. While wanting to retain her and even increase the scope of her leadership, her manager is worried she might leave for good. Categorize under: Work–life balance Advisor Janice Marturano We won’t get the kind of great leadership our society needs if we only look to the members of the population who don’t bear children. So we need more thoughtful dialogue on this topic. Having a child redefines life for mothers and fathers, but it doesn’t preclude anyone from becoming an excellent leader. There are factors that make the journey a bit different for women, and it’s a great first step for managers to recognize that. First, take some time to prepare for a conversation with your employee, bringing awareness to any stories you may be telling yourself. Why are you worried you might lose her ? Are you concerned she won’t be as motivated or committed to the organization once she has a baby? Can you meet the organization’s needs during her absence and still keep investing in her leadership potential? Second, invite her to share her thoughts and plans for the future. How does she want her career to unfold? Ask her if she’d like to help develop ways to meet the organiza- tion’s needs while she’s away. Let her know you value her as an employee and share your thoughts about expanding her leadership role. What does she think about that? While this is an immediate concern that needs to be addressed, leadership develop- ment is a long journey. If you think this person has potential, an open dialog is your best investment right now. Janice Marturano, of the Institute for Mindful Leadership, is the author of the forthcoming Finding the Space to Lead. Figure It Out Together August 2013 mindful 67 in practice at work