More Managers with Mentoring Skills Needed

Knowledge Center


Next Topic

Mentoring > Best Practices > More Managers with Mentoring Skills Needed

More Managers with Mentoring Skills Needed
Sridhar Gopal, Management Consultant, India, Member
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.

Managers Need Mentoring Skills
Bernardo Gamboa, Analyst, Peru, Member
I agree. Mentoring is key in the development of new talent. Managers need to understand his role in order to narrow the gap between the knowledge and the experience that is required for every position under his direction.

Mentoring by Managers Leads to Organisational Excellence
M.B. Mphahlele, Consultant, South Africa, Member
Good leaders always multiply themselves through people development. They
- Identify talented individuals,
- Design a growth path for them,
- Introduce them therein,
- Hold their hand in the beginning,
- Later observe their performance and guide them,
- And finally they lead them to develop others.
The result is a total upswing in organizational performance.

Mentoring is a Key Role/Responsibility of a Professional
Paul D Giammalvo, Professor and Consultant, Indonesia, Member
I came up through the construction trades (carpentry) and the tradition of "apprentices" goes back literally hundreds if not thousands of years.
We see evidence of this in the medical profession where part of the process of becoming a doctor requires an internship. We also see this as a requirement in obtaining one's Professional Engineer (PE) license in the USA and lastly, we see it in commercial aircraft piloting where the co-pilot is a junior being trained under the watchful eyes of the "master".

So if this practice of having mentoring "built into the system" is so common, and has proven itself to produce good results, then why don't we push to make it a requirement for project management as well?

Managers Should be Mentors, not Dictators
Emilio Gonzalez, Manager, United States, Member
Unfortunately lately there are to many "Manager" that think that being dictators and spreading fear is the best way to act and get results. Managers should be mentors first of all and coaches. At every moment they should lead by example. And of course possess the needed know-how and experience.

Mentoring is like Regular Maintenance of the Staff
J A Hegarty, Business School Marketer, Ireland, Member
Organisations have equipment, premises and staff. Regular maintenance must be carried out on the physical structure of the premises, and on all equipment to keep it in working order.
Are staff the organisation's greatest asset? Then surely they need "maintenance" that is training, development, and mentoring!

The Need for Managers to Take up Mentoring
Winand Kissels, Interim Manager, Netherlands, Member
Completely right... Over the year I have learned to value mentorship.
As consultant I do recommend mentorship especially for new and particular junior employees.
This will forest quick integration in the team and organization, plus adopting of the organizational culture.

Manager as Mentor
Hermanson, Business Consultant, United States, Member
Right on target. This is particularly acute in small technology firms. Project teams are generally self-motivated to apply their skills and accomplish the project. They know the deadlines. Restating the deadlines and asking them to solve problems beyond their control is not management but bureaucracy.

No Managers without Mentoring Skills
Saeed Fahim, Manager, United Arab Emirates, Member
I read with great interest all the comments and wonder whether the term manger has been loosely defined and used? Over the span of my career one did not become a manager without going through a true internship, part of which would have been people development and mentoring.
Nowadays it's much easier to become a manager or be called one. Back to the basics I say.

Train Managers in Mentoring Skills
Doug Lawrence, Entrepreneur, Canada, SIG Leader
For managers to be successful the organization's leadership development program needs to have mentoring as a key element to the program. What is also important is that we need to provide the managers with the tools to be effective mentors. Training of your managers in mentoring techniques/skills is essential.

What we recommend is that managers not mentor their direct reports due to the mentoring relationship that needs to be developed. Having said that all great leaders have mentoring skills as part of their toolbox of skills. I agree 100% that more managers need these skills - but make sure you provide them with the tools to be successful.

Mentoring is a Tool Managers Use to Reach Company Success
Cesar, Teacher, Mexico, Member
I agree with all of you. A good manager must be a good mentor, a coach, and lead through business processes.
A good manager needs to have human attitude. That is the tools to manage today a good company, we must remember that a company is formed by our employees. They make a company reach success. So, make them grow...

Mentoring is Key to Development of Others
William Stadler, Manager, United States, Member
I agree with all of these posts, which to me, indicate that the business culture has lost sight of the appreciation for the people, which collectively define a firm's brand and style. Perhaps this lost vision is due to more competitive economies, or advances of technologies, or advances of "system thinking", or more likely a combination of all the above along with other factors.
But we must all remember that what we do in the business world will not be effective in the long run without the goal of developing people's talents through mentoring, encouraging, etc.
This attitude turned into action is what is most important - whether within the company we work for, across companies as colleagues working together, or from our own stances within our companies reaching out ultimately to the people in our neighborhoods.

Mentoring is Key, But there are Requirements
RiaRoy, Student (University), United States, Member
From my perspective, a good mentoring can only happen when the mentor is completely confident in his/ her abilities, there is leadership and organizational culture support. Furthermore, a mentor who is inspirational and aspirational to an organization is acknowledged, promoted, and rewarded.

Requirements to make Mentoring a Success
Doug Lawrence, Entrepreneur, Canada, SIG Leader
Some great contributions to this topic!
The success of a mentoring program in an organization is hinged on four key elements:
1) Corporate Support
2) Structure
3) Training
4) Culture that will support mentoring
@Ria Roy: On an individual level I agree that good mentoring can only happen when the mentor has self-reflected and understands who s/he is as a person. This is all about people - they are an organizations most valued stakeholder.

Mentoring Requires a Learning Organisation
Richard Teo, CEO, Papua New Guinea, Member
Mentoring" is an overused word. We expect managers to know what it means and to practice it! Not so if he/she doesn't have the knowledge and skills to impart or even effectively communicate.
Every organisation must first and foremost become a learning organisation. Each person in the pipeline in the SMP must become accultured to learning and doing to make the workplace successful, profitable, productive towards the "excellence" desired outcome. For this to happen, all levels must take on a learning and teaching position and learn how to teach, impart, communicate, and attach inter-cultural competence to praxis. There is much more but space doesn't allow me to say more.

Characteristics of Managers to be Good Mentors
K.Narayana Moorthy, HR Consultant, India, Member
Totally agreed - a Manager has to be a Mentor. To find good candidates for managers being able to mentor well, organizations have to look for managers who possess following ideal characters:
(a) Good record for developing people;
(b) Genuine interest in seeing younger people that can advance and can relate to their problems;
(c) Has a wide range of current skills to pass on;
(d) Has a good understanding of the organization, as how it is working and where it is going;
(e) Combines patience and inter personal skills and ability to work in an unstructured programme;
(f) Has sufficient time to devote to the relation ship with his protégé';
(g) Can command a protégé's respect;
(h) Has his own networks of contacts and influence.

Mentoring by Managers of New Generations
ANGSHUMAN, Manager, India, Member
I agree with the concept, but the first thing is that the Manager should know that there is nothing to lose for him, and that he will gain by mentoring. Knowing our young managers who are managing Gen Y there is always a fear of losing something.

Managers and Mentees
Helen Strong, Business Consultant, South Africa, Member
Totally agree that people need constructive leadership and a learning environment to reach their full potential.
However, are you going to find this development taking place where a) the company is too small to offer a career path, and b) the employees do not respond to empowerment. i.e. they do not want to become responsible for productivity and quality of output? Some people need direction as opposed to negotiation to do their jobs.
The above discussion also does not distinguish between the roles of mentors and coaches. Immediate superiors are almost never mentors (who bring the longer term dimension of career advancement). Coaches also provide skill and personal development but do not get involved in the politics of succession planning.

Mentoring Skills for Managers
K.Narayana Moorthy, HR Consultant, India, Member
@K.Narayana Moorthy: Here are some further typical mentoring skills:
- Building rapport and establishing trust;
- Setting objectives and goals: help to set clear and achievable goals;
- Being open and accessible: make it easy for others to be open and candid;
- Supporting colleagues - be tolerant of mistakes, seek to learn from them;
- Active listening - listen carefully with full attention;
- Flexibility - be open to new ideas;
- Awareness of culture - help people to understand the cultural issues which may affect their success;
- Open mind - motivated to continue developing and growing;
- Giving feedback - balance both positive and negative things.

Mentoring Must Start at the Top Level
Raza, Consultant, United States, Member
Thanks for this interesting article.
However, from my experience working in four continents I have learned that no matter what mentoring skills or other coaching skills managers may have, they simply cannot go solo and mentor staff when the top guys in an average organization have no interest or desire to develop people. These top people simply believe someone somewhere will always be better, so why spend time in developing people when we can find a quick fix to the problem.

Indeed it has become a common practice for companies in the US and India to lure smart people into joining an organization at a high salary, long-term prospects etc., and assign them a staff mentoring responsibility as a KPI during the probationary period. Once the mission is achieved, the smart manager is replaced by the staff he/she mentored.
So in theory yes, a manager has to be a mentor. However, in practice, it is the caliber of top leadership, job security, and company culture which actually decide if a manager really can be a mentor.

Key People of the Company Should Show Interest in Mentoring
K.Narayana Moorthy, HR Consultant, India, Member
Organizations are often interested in establishing a mentoring program as they see good reasons in its principles to mentor the young managers. I once found a Director, one of the key people in the organization, who desired and showed keen interest to be a mentor. Honestly following the principles, he even went to the extent of separately allocating 3 hours every Friday afternoon for 6 months.
This helped his group of protege's to learn things like the vision and mission of the organization; how to get job satisfaction; the organization's culture, etc.

Exemplary Mentor / Mentoring Program: A Chimera?
RiaRoy, Student (University), United States, Member
@Doug Lawrence: And, this is where I believe the rabbit hole starts getting deeper:
Reflective individuals are a sparse commodity in today's era. Now start combining this with all the other factors that are required for a good mentoring to happen, are we then not talking of an impossibility? Not to mention a mere observation of the society we operate within today is increasingly becoming self-centered and highly egotistical, and all of it together prompts me to question whether we are chasing a chimera? (Editor: ~to embark upon a quest that can't be brought to a meaningful and successful completion)
Editor: refer also to this comprehensive discussion: Why is Mentoring Under-utilized?

Managers (also as Mentors ) and Appreciative Inquiry
K.Narayana Moorthy, HR Consultant, India, Member
Managers (also as mentors) are certainly in an advantageous position if they acquire Appreciative Inquiry skills. These are helpful for their managerial and mentoring functions. Appreciative Inquiry (AI) creates positive energy in the group and is an alignment to strengths to make weaknesses irrelevant. An AI community of managers and mentors believes in inspiring and supporting their group for the future, in developing and grooming, to be successful with Boldness; Prosperity; Success; Wealth; Joy; Creativity; Evolution; Alignment; Calm; Courage; Playfulness; Clarity; Strength; Leadership; Commitment; Freedom; Love; Engaging; Abundance; Presence; Unstoppable; Permission to receive'; Collaboration; Truth; Confidence; Self-esteem; Health; Attitude; Quality; Openness; Perseverance; Story; Allowing and Transforming.

Mentoring is also a Team-based Approach
Richard Teo, CEO, Papua New Guinea, Member
All good comments but seem to be top-down as the operative function. Mentoring should be also team-based.
Assuming that managers have the skills is an avoidable mistake. It is one of the fallacies of leadership and management.
The notion of Appreciative Inquiry is good with open participative activity. This implies a learner-centered approach and helps the learning / teaching process.

As a Manager, Mentoring Others Should Be a Task
SYMON E. ENYAPU, Student (University), Kenya, Member
It is a good idea to mentor others, especially in this impersonal digital world. I like mentoring both outside and inside a job or profession.
I was once mentored by somebody and still benefit from that. This is great friends, you will like it and should go for it! It is an honorable ambition for managers who are eager to lead by example.

Managers Mentoring Young Employees
Jacob Tokame, Student (University), Ghana, Member
This is timely. l believe if the good managers today can mentor the young ones, the world of business has a good future.

Managers as Mentors? Yes, But Do It Professionally
Habtamu Kelemework, Student (Other), Ethiopia, Member
I agree with Mr. Sridhar Gopal's idea and all the comments given above. Managers should have to mentor their workers. However, the way they mentor matters to bring the required result.

Exemplary Mentor / Mentoring Program: NOT a Chimera
Doug Lawrence, Entrepreneur, Canada, SIG Leader
@RiaRoy: I am happy to say that the majority of the folks that I have worked with reinforce that this is not a chimera. Good mentors are out there.
Good mentors can become better mentors with some training and guidance. It is a continuous learning and development process.
Great mentors don't tell, they ask a series of questions to guide their mentee to the answers.
The mentoring relationship is one where BOTH participants learn from the process.

Good to Hear That ...
Sridhar Gopal, Management Consultant, India, Member
@Doug Lawrence: That's good to hear Doug. There are a number of them, including me who had a chance to get mentors as managers. But we are a minority...
We wish companies will have this' trait ' as a basic requirement before they qualify their managers... Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Thanks for your Thoughts
Sridhar Gopal, Management Consultant, India, Member
Thanks very much to all here and those who cared to read this post.This has been a very good learning session for me.
I tried to reach everyone of you individually on this page and touch your points but system issues there or my ignorance of how to do that, am unable to do that anyway.
I am indeed motivated to take these discussions fwd on managers being mentors to a more meaningful and practical beginning in a way we concur. So keep the discussions going!
"A trip of thousand miles but begins with a single step"
- Proverb.

Mentoring Managers Should Create an Environment for Knowledge Transfer
Gacheru Mwangi, Lecturer, Kenya, Member
Mentoring/coaching creates an organizational culture that allows tacit knowledge to flow from one generation of managers to the next. Managers should think in terms of generations, otherwise the organization ceases to be "a going concern".
It is wrong when a manager exits from his position, for whichever reason, for the farewell party to be dominated by statements like "he has left a gap that no one can fill" or "his shoes were too big such that no one can fit them".

Mentoring is the Main Task for Successful Management
Daniel Marin, Professor, Mexico, Member
Successful management has as it's main task the development of people, that I learned early in my industrial carrier.
Most of the time when you find a problem and take the thread of it, at the end you will find always a person or people which either
- Don't know how to do it,
- Can not do it, or
- Don't want to do it.
In the first case, you have to teach or have him be taught.
In the second case, you have to analyze if the person has all the tools an resources to do the job or if he does not have the capability to do it, in this case, you have to assign him to other task more suitable to his skills.
In the third case you have to explain to him the importance of his work for the institution and the personal benefits he is having at least for the continuity of the operation, and if you don't have the response, change the person.
Also you have to be aware that you don't delegate responsibility to your subordinates, you delegate authority to achieve results.

Mentoring at the Workplace is Vital
Titus Muzvuwe, Strategy Consultant, Zimbabwe, Member
I believe everyone can be a mentor regardless of qualifications and education level.
The problem with mentoring nowadays is that the mentor needs to keep pace with changes in the market and society. Otherwise his experience could be obsolete. Most mentors lack emmotional intelligence.

Wrong Practices of Managers Mentoring Young Professionals
owako, Manager, Kenya, Member
Every manager can be a mentor. But the practice of managing through psychological intimidation among established and experienced managers must be avoided. Phrases such as "many professionals are available out there like you", or "remember we were not to pick you at interview level" and "don't equate yourself with us" are quite common.
Such practices drift away young professionals instead of bonding them in our teams for learning.

Managers Should Commit to Mentoring Young Professionals
K.Narayana Moorthy, HR Consultant, India, Member
Young professionals, in to-day's business context revolve around professional growth, community and technical development. Therefore any mentoring program should be a long term exercise. Any organization needs a recommitment to our profession. We need everyone, both young and old, to understand the importance of mentoring and how it directly affects the future of our profession.

No Subordinate/Supervisor Relationship in Mentoring
subramanian, Business Consultant, India, Member
I think for mentoring to succeed, the mentor and the mentee should not be in a subordinate / supervisor reporting relationship. Also they should not be competitors (or perceived to be so) in the work place. The mentor should be able to command the respect of the mentee for his/her knowledge, experience, competence, achievements, maturity, for having sailed in rough weather, experienced successes and failures, honesty, courage, emotional connect and compassion.
This doesn't come to all. Not all accomplished people will qualify as mentors.
Mentoring cannot happen through a mandate but has to be voluntary. In fact, mentoring often happens without any written rules simply because the mentor and the mentee happen to discover this made sense for each other. Even in a formal set up, the first prerequisite is the compatibility and the mutual perceptions.

Corporative and Personal Culture on Mentoring
Nelson Hernandez Manso
Your first school is at your home, the second one the streets, the third your education, and among them are your personal interests.
All the comments are right because they are personal points of view.
Some big companies have a culture to train their personnel, you need to accomplish certain courses to climb in the company structure.
Some of them consider a mentor assignment a profile dexterity to achieve specific positions, others do not.
Maybe a replacement policy will be a better solution: You need to mentor/train/coach personnel to rise. If you don't, those you supervise will rise above you.

Special Interest Group Leader
Doug Lawrence

Best Practices

Knowledge Center


Next Topic

About 12manage | Advertising | Link to us / Cite us | Privacy | Suggestions | Terms of Service
© 2019 12manage - The Executive Fast Track. V15.1 - Last updated: 23-8-2019. All names ™ of their owners.