One of the best ways to grow is to find a mentor. This may sound like it is difficult but it is easier than most leaders think. There are plenty of people who could serve as mentors. The reality is that they are just waiting to be asked. The problem is that most business leaders only think of approaching other business people for mentoring. The truth is that they are cutting out a vast array of assistance that they could find.
Mentoring is simply teaching another person from personal or learned experience. Finding a mentor means to find someone who knows something about leadership that could apply to a business setting. There are many ways to accomplish mentoring. The following is a short list of possibilities that business leaders may not normally consider.
Find a colleague
The first task is to begin asking questions to people who are in a similar area of expertise. Find someone who has worked longer or harder and start finding something from them to learn. One of the best ways to learn something is start asking good questions. The longer people fail to ask questions, the longer they remain in the dark. Knowledge is the first step to growing as a leader.
Find a long distance mentor
The second way to find a mentor is to listen to audio tapes or watch video tapes. The reality is that a person does not have to be known on a personal level to be a mentor. The long distance mentor is often the most used form of business mentoring. Select a leader who can be trusted to give sound advice from a background of personal experience. There are a wide variety of leadership teachers out there that can be tapped for mentoring.
Find a leader with a different background
The third way to find a mentor is to look outside the realm of expertise for people. There are a variety of individuals who are leaders outside of the business community. There are leaders in the civic realm who manage towns and villages. There are individuals who are leaders within nonprofit organizations that use various leadership skills on a daily basis. There are teachers in the local schools who lead in the classrooms. There are individuals who work in public service for police, fire and medical services who might be able to give excellent leadership suggestions. These people are leaders and they have something unique to share.
Take some time to think about people within the personal circle that could become a form of mentor. Be willing to take the next step and start finding something to learn from another leader. There are many people who could teach about leadership. The setting does not have to be formal. Invite the potential mentor to lunch and ask about learning something new. The reality is that when leaders glean from one another, both will come away better and stronger leaders.