Just when you think you’ve heard all the advice you can imagine about being an effective leader, I am here to tell you, you haven’t. You see, leadership, as we know it, will become extinct. Instead, we’ll have mentors, whose sole purpose will be to help those they lead be successful.
If you don’t believe me, consider this: Leaders continued to be focused on hitting their numbers rather than developing their people; however, business results, on average, flatline. Meanwhile companies and their employees are hit with the collateral damage of lost productivity and performance.
Here are 5 key ways to develop mentors, who will ensure your employees are more successful:
- Focus on behaviors, not results. Most managers don’t truly understand behavior. That’s because they spend little time observing behavior. On the other hand, athletic coaches are paid to pinpoint behaviors that lead to success: A golf coach, for example, watches the position of your fingers on the golf club, the width of your stance and the shift of your weight from one foot to another. Managers and supervisors need to observe what people do and provide feedback and reinforcement to help them improve.
- Identify positive reinforcers for each person. What is reinforcing to one person may not be to another. What is helpful and what is not can be learned best through relationships. Establish yourself as a positive reinforcer by making your interactions helpful to your employees.
- Invite employees to assist you in problem solving. It’s not uncommon that front-line employees solve problems that plagued managers for months. Get your employees’ input. You’ll be happy you did.
- Think small. You can never go wrong reinforcing improvement. Starting small increases the number of times that you can deliver meaningful reinforcers. Since positive reinforcers increase behavior, the smaller the change that is reinforced, the faster the improvement.
- Listen! While it seems logical, many managers and supervisors fail to listen to what is right in front of them. The sooner you master the secret to listening, the more effective your relationships will be.
Get ahead of the curve and begin your transformation from leader to mentor now. Everybody will be happier, productive and more engaged – and you will be more effective.
Aubrey Daniels is chairman and founder of management consultancy Aubrey Daniels International and the recently launched Aubrey Daniels Institute, as well as author of Bringing Out the Best in People and five other best-selling business books. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.