26 Oct · 6 min read
You've worked hard for the last 30, 40, or even 50 years to be the best you can be. Perhaps the best in your field. So, how do you give it all up, hand over the reins to your successor, and embrace the concept of "retirement"? This transition in leadership can be an extremely emotional process for many people, and it may be the most difficult thing they've ever done professionally. When done well, however, it has the potential to be the most significant and impactful!
Your coworkers have most likely looked up to you for your wisdom and sound advice for as long as you've been with the company. They may have also expected you to take on even more responsibility, such as leading your business functions or growing the company through successful business development and customer relationships. However, there comes a time in everyone's career when it's better to look to the next generation to step up rather than dig in and push harder to achieve even more.
If you're thinking about how long you want to work and what you'll do next if you retire, you've earned the right to take a step back and prioritize your life differently in the future. You are not alone, as many Baby Boomers are choosing not to work as much after what we've all been through in the last year. It's no longer about making more money or gaining new professional accolades. It's about prioritizing what's most important in life while also ensuring your legacy and the organization's survival long after you're gone.
As you consider your transition from Manager to Mentor, consider the following tips will help you along the way:
It is your responsibility as a mentor to assist your mentees in reaching their full potential. To accomplish this, it is best if you assist them in understanding and building on their strengths. Curt Coffman, the author of Accel5, offers a tip for leaders to help others discover their strengths in a video for Accel5. Coffman suggests that a good leader will observe what people do outside of work to determine their talents. Pay attention to what your employees do for fun as you get to know them to see how it relates to their roles at work.
A mentor/mentee relationship is extremely personal.
You can give mediocre advice without really knowing a person, but if you want to stand out as a fantastic mentor, you must get to know your mentee on a personal level.
You've probably jotted down some of the more career-related questions, such as their working style, dream job, goals for their current position, and so on. But what about the stuff that creates them?
Getting to know your mentee on a deeper level will help you build a strong relationship and understand who they are as people and how they interact with others, among other things.
What's a great way to meet new people? Learn to be an active listener. This is easier said than done: it requires a conscious effort to listen to what your mentee is saying rather than thinking about what you're going to say next.
"Our professional lives are a web, not a silo. So, anyway I can truly listen to a mentee's goals, journey, and vision for themselves will help me connect them with other people or businesses who share their mission." said Strain.
You may be concerned that you must provide immediate assistance, but the best thing you can do for your mentee is to listen carefully to what they're saying, delve deeper and serve as a listening ear, and ask open-ended concerns.
It's time to brainstorm ideas after you've asked enough questions to understand your mentee's mission. This is an excellent opportunity to collaborate on brainstorming ideas for the mentee's future.
Assume the mentee wishes to change careers but is unsure which path to take. You can do an exercise with them to help them find their dream job.
Or suppose they want to be a professional data analyst but aren't sure what medium to use. As an experienced data analyst, you can assist them in debating the advantages and disadvantages of various mediums.
Your employees are entirely under your control. If you have an underperforming employee, consider what you did, or more likely did not do, that is causing the problem. Were they provided with everything they needed to succeed? Was there training adequate? Have you checked in regularly and offered assistance? Have you provided specific feedback and a plan of action for how to improve?
Reflecting on these questions will assist you in putting on your "mentoring hat" and working with a low-performing team member to solve the problem rather than assigning blame. The best-case scenario is that they will improve, and you will be remembered as one of the most influential bosses in their lives. Even if you must part ways, you can do so amicably and with the satisfaction of knowing that you did your part to help him or she succeed.
Introducing a mentee to your network is a great way to help them advance in their career. This is optional, but it can be beneficial to both of you.
If you're on board, think about being selective about who you introduce them to. Also, make sure you have permission from both parties ahead of time.
Assume your mentee is debating between careers as a financial advisor and a loan officer. While it may be tempting to introduce them to everyone, try focusing on those two groups.
Then, give the mentee time to develop those relationships. Remember to coach your mentee on how to build long-term relationships when networking.
A team of A-Players is required to build a world-class business. And A-Players will only stay where they can face new challenges and grow.
Inquire about your mentee's goals, and don't panic or dismiss them if their ambitions appear to take them outside of your company. If you truly want to develop and retain top employees, lean into their growth goals and help them create a roadmap to get there.
If the person you're mentoring is unsure of their goals, you can start by asking them or identifying a skill or area of the business in which they or would like to learn more. Helping your team members value ongoing education will likely open their eyes to opportunities for growth, and you will both benefit as a result.
The most effective managers are also excellent mentors. While an employee may seek a mentor outside of the management structure (which is also beneficial), management and mentorship do not have to be separate roles. The best bosses strike a balance by devoting time and creating a safe environment for their team members to grow and develop. It is personally fulfilling for both individuals, and as a natural byproduct, you build a great team.