Ben Franklin said; tell me and I’ll forget, teach me, and I may remember, involve me and I’ll learn.
I mention that to say rather than simply give the answers, the Leader’s role should be to help their people find the answers for themselves. While giving the answers is better than giving no help at all, helping people to find the answers for themselves provides far more effective mentoring. This process enables so much more for the people in terms of their learning experience.
Give someone the answers and they learn only the answers; instead Leaders need to facilitate the experience of discovery and learning. The Leader should therefore focus mentoring effort and expectations (of the person being mentored especially, and the organization) on helping and guiding the people to find the answers and develop solutions of their own. This creates ownership on the part of the person, helps them learn to think and saves the Leader time because they are not having to answer the same questions over and over again.
Leaders need to be facilitators and coaches. People need simply to open their minds to the guidance and facilitative methods of the Leader. The Leader should not normally (unless in the case of emergency) provide the answers for the people; instead a Leader should ask the right questions (facilitative, guiding, interpretive, non-judgmental) that guide the people towards finding the answers for themselves.
If a Leader tells a person what to do, then the person generally begins to always turn to the Leader for all the answers and experiences no personal growth.
The Leader’s role is to help the people to find the answers through their own attempts, failures and successes, and by so doing, to develop their own natural strengths and potential.
We can see the same parallels in the relationship between a parents and a child. If a parent only tells the child what to do, then the child never learns to think for themselves. This leads the child to being only a follower and not a Leader.
When we mentor people, or when we raise children, we should try to help them develop as individuals according to their natural selves, and their own wishes, not ours.
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Jim Strutton, CEO
© 2011 Accountability Plus, Inc.
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