More from the Mailbag

Published April 15th, 2008 in Blog, Mentoring, Motivation

As I’d mentioned earlier this week, we’ve been receiving a lot of “Ask Dondi” emails every day. This week we’re going to tackle some of them. Don’t forget, if you have submitted an “Ask Dondi” question, watch for the question and the answer here. Thank you for keeping the lines of communication open and for sharing your questions with me.

Audrey said: Greetings Dondi! I recently saw you on John Hagee Ministries. I purchased your book today. I was really enlightened by some things you spoke about. How can I hear more about the purpose of mentoring and why our success is vital to having mentors?

I am passionate about mentoring because I believe it is one of the most important strategies for personal and professional development available to us. Through mentoring we prepare for our next steps and we make the most of the step we’re on. Mentoring builds the heart and forges confidence. It is personalized development in action! I often say life should come with the disclaimer, “Do not attempt any of this alone!”

The impact of mentoring is undeniable – for individuals and organizations. Organizations committed to mentoring report the ability to manage change more effectively, prepare future leaders, and attract the best people. When organizations make the investment in formal mentoring programs, they fully expect to see results like these:

  • Improved job satisfaction
  • Increased retention
  • Improved job performance
  • Higher quality and productivity
  • Employees ready to take the next career step
  • Stronger sense of community
  • Employees taking personal responsibility for their professional development

From the perspective of those mentored, the benefits are also striking. People who have been mentored tend to earn more and they are promoted faster. Both of these outcomes may be related to the process of mentoring which focuses on developing a solid career plan and building a strong professional network. Mentoring “plugs” individuals into the organization and makes professional development a personal priority.

Mentees or proteges are generally exposed to a broader organizational perspective. They are made more visible and they are able to market themselves more effectively. They see how all pieces fit together to form the big picture. This allows them to build strong networks, break through functional barriers and have a greater impact.

Mary wrote: How often should you motivate your team?

I encourage you to view motivation as a value versus an event. That means motivated is something we “are” rather than something we “do.” It’s not what you do that will be the most important thing; it’s what is created inside of people by what you do (or don’t do). As a leader look for ways to promote:

  • Learning and growth
  • A sense of personal achievement
  • Confidence and self-esteem
  • Ownership and commitment
  • Opportunities to demonstrate special knowledge or expertise

To foster these attributes on your team you may assign challenging tasks that ask people to stretch, make progress and improvement more visible, reinforce and celebrate what is working well, get people involved by asking for their advice and their opinions, and find ways to let people shine.

I would also look for and respond quickly to what frustrates your team. If you can’t fix it, acknowledge the frustration and refocus your group on what they can impact. Sometimes people get lost in the things they cannot personally change and this will steal their strength and energy. We can’t ignore what isn’t working well but we need to maintain a rigorous focus on the action we can take and the impact we can have. In Designed for Success, you will find more ways to empower yourself and others with personal accountability.

My best to you as you make motivation an element of your culture.