More Managers with Mentoring Skills Needed

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Sridhar Gopal
Management Consultant, India

More Managers with Mentoring Skills Needed

Enterprises need mentoring as a managerial skill. Because it is a key contributor to human and business productivity. The HR function must stress the need for this and assist the managers to cultivate this trait by education through the company’s programs.
In my professional experience spanning nearly two decades, I learned that there is a need for a manager to be a mentor. Most managers that I worked with were professionals directing the business by CONTROLLING the resources, expenditure and even their people. Doing so resulted in GOOD REVENUES for the companies they work for. However their professionals are showing PROBLEMATIC CAREERS going through a zig zag motion while working with these managers.

The key reason being these managers were "TASK MANAGERS" rather than "PROBLEM SOLVERS". As a task master my managers used to begin a meeting with "what’s the project status?..." and the presentations used to be often interrupted with- “I don't need that... No excuses please..." and the kind. The meeting would popularly conclude something like - “I don't want to know how you do it... But I need it by next week.." I must admit we did complete the work within time lines. However, the question is at what cost? Personal stress, little family time. Often I turned away from my daughter when she came with a math book in her hand to be taught and finally on a annual checkup I was told that my blood sugar levels were higher than normal due to improper health maintenance, besides high stress. This may be a in a “one off” case but probably research could indicate larger numbers on this state of professionals.

After my long career in IT companies I pulled myself off and parked under the shade of a ' wisdom tree' and now work as a business consultant spending more time in coaching and mentoring mid level and upper management. I also spend -like most consultants - researching on concepts and in most ways have been a student all over again or so I feel. The dearest learning for me is the role of a manager and the management in the contemporary professional environment. One of the basic qualifications, among other already existing ones should be PEOPLE MANAGEMENT SKILLS.

This would not only drive the company's revenue curve linear but also avoid a hyperbolic health curve for the personnel associated with the company. Physical health is just one of the element I pointed out but there are family, personal, emotional and lot more to consider when we talk about why we need the presence of a mentoring element along with other abilities of a manager. I am sure this is not a utopian practice and we earthlings can cultivate this if we need and we need it and when we do the business to progresses 360 degrees.

When we have mentors in our managers we will experience project status meetings something like this: “Where are we on this project? How can I help you to catch up(on the timeline)?”
Probably presentations will be interrupted less… or even with a pat on the back for what is accomplished thus far and stretching our expectation a little further - a helping hand for what needs to be done. Thus the manager and the management will seriously practice seeing a glass half full glass rather than a half empty glass.

Thanks to all those managers who have mentors in them and if you are a professional who has experienced this – treasure this experience for this breed of managers is still not commonly found on this planet.

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