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7 Effective Ways To Mentor Your Best Employees

3rd Jun 2017
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Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of my career as a manager is helping to bring my employees to reach their potential through mentoring and leadership. Throughout the years, I have gained a lot of insight into how that can be accomplished, and I would like to share it with other entrepreneurs who might be struggling in this area.

Take An Interest In Their Future

Where do you see yourself in five years? That might be a dreaded job interview question, but it also provides an opportunity for reflection. Beyond that, it will show the employee that they have a future at the company. People become dissatisfied with their career when they feel like it is a dead end. Ask them what they want to do and assess their skills to paint an optimistic picture of what their future at the company could look like.

Celebrate Successful Projects

Even if there were a few shortcomings in a project, you can still let individuals know that you appreciated their performance and emphasize their strengths. That does not mean that you are setting a precedent for shortcomings or failures. A time will come for adjustments during future projects. But after one is completed, that will be the time to express appreciation for their diligence. According to a Gallup poll, employees who received regular praise  are more likely to stay with their current organization and received higher satisfaction scores from customers. 

Imitate Me

That is what I tell my brightest employees. Never meet the old cliché of the boss who does not do anything and takes credit for the work done by the employees. Show them, through your performance, that the key to success at this company is work ethic, integrity, and ambition. This is particularly important as people leave managers, not companies. Poor management can actually cost your company money as you won't be able to retain your best and brightest employees. A high turnover will affect your company's bottom line, productivity and revenue. 

Treat Each Protégé As An Individual
People are individuals and they are motivated in different ways. The fact that one employee responded positively to one method does not mean that it will work with somebody else. Get to know your staff on an individual basis so that you can discern their needs and apply your methodology accordingly. 

Delegate Leadership Roles

Employees tend to take their position more seriously when they are taken seriously by management. If we provide unique challenges for them to apply themselves to, they will be more likely to apply themselves. Give an employee the reins over a project that you would usually supervise yourself and see how she does. Deepa Radhi of QuickTapSurvey says : "People generally rise to the occasion when given a chance. I've had an intern surprise me with his ability to manage and develop a complex project with little intervention. We probably wouldn't have achieved the same result if I micromanaged him every step of the way:. 

Sufficient Training And Instructions Without Being Overbearing

There is a balance that you will need to strike between two extremes. One extreme is to provide so much freedom and so few instructions that the employees are not sure what to do. The other is to be so thorough and overbearing that you might as well be doing the project yourself. Provide outlines of what a project needs to succeed, but give them room to breathe. This will show your employees that you trust their ability and judgment. 
 

Know When To Listen And When To Speak

If a protégé comes to your with a problem, it can be tempting to quickly assess what she is saying and provide some surface-level suggestion. The problem with this is that their issue might be more nuanced than you thought. It will also give the impression that you are not really listening. Digest what they are saying and then respond.

Mentoring bright employees is one of the highlights of my careers. I have thoroughly enjoyed seeing these young professionals exceed their own dreams. 

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