One of the greatest strengths of mentoring leaders is the ability to teach. To reproduce himself, a man must teach, by words and by actions, those who are learning from him. Jesus taught large groups and the people marvelled at the wisdom and authority of His words. He was doing His most important work, he gave himself, time, prayer and love.
At PEEK, Possibilties For Each and Every Kid many of our team are seen as informal mentors to the young people we serve. We make every effort to be present for our young people, to provide support, love, guidance, teaching, to learn and grow giving ourselves, time and knowledge.
One of the key tenets of leadership is the need to pass on the knowledge and experience to others. Most great leaders throughout history have made it a priority to grow and develop other leaders who can come in, take the reins and lead more effectively.
I would describe a mentor as a trusted counsellor or guide. A mentor cares more about helping others than getting credit.
A mentor seeks to make the world better through helping individuals and inspiring them to help others.
So, in the context of helping others, a mentor seeks to:
- Guide: Mentors teach others how to learn, how to find ways to do things themselves. They teach you how to be successful by helping you become self-successful.
- Inspire: Mentors motivate. They have high optimism and a love for life. Their energy is contagious. Mentors lead people to succeed through their own success and by encouraging others to believe they can also succeed.
- Build: Mentors develop others. They provide opportunities and direction. They create structure and process to channel the growth and development of those they lead. Their goals are “other” oriented; not wanting the glory or limelight themselves, they foster the growth and success of others.
Last year I was privileged to be part of a cohort of 24 amazing human beings as we undertook the Clore Social Fellowship Leadership Programme.
During this time I was inspired, challenged and took out my comfort zone at times. One of the biggest challenges I faced was putting myself first and giving myself permission to do. However, through one of the Clore components ’Mentoring’ I learned to do this better.
One of the biggest dangers facing people in our sector is burnout. It’s easy to be excited about something when you first get going, but after a couple years, or a decade, how do you stay excited? And more importantly, how do you draw from your experience while still treating each experience and each individual you come across as something entirely new and wonderful? The key is having a mentor. Trying to do great things is difficult. Trying to do them alone is, more often than not, impossible. That’s why all great leaders have mentors, and also mentor others.
If you are constantly pouring into the lives of others and nobody is pouring into you, sooner or later you’re going to feel empty. Whether that mentor is a wise friend, another professional, a minister, you need somebody who can offer you fresh perspective, hold you accountable, pray for you, and inspire you to keep going.
Mentors do more than give advice and help brainstorm – they act as a confidant that you can unload your problems with. They’ll listen, help you dissect exactly what’s bothering you, and provide support as you think of solutions together.
Make it a priority to find someone for whom you can be a mentor. Your efforts will help that person learn and grow. Giving your time and knowledge to others will help you develop your leadership skills. Leaders are mentors. Mentors are leaders.
Chief Executive Officer, PEEK
PEEK (Possibilities for Each and Every Kid) works with children and young people in Glasgow, giving them the motivation, self-confidence and skills they need to change their lives. PEEK is receiving a Go For It Continuation Grant for their Peer Education Programme, which journeys alongside young volunteers (aged 14-21) as they choose an issue affecting their local community and produce creative work to educate their peers.
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