Career advice | Coaching |Mentoring
February 27, 2017
Mentorship comes in many flavors. It doesn’t always work unless leaders bear in mind a few common principles.
Over the past three years, as part of my forthcoming book, I’ve been researching how leaders can better judge and develop their talent in light of a changing, more purpose-driven, more tech-enabled work environment. Having interviewed close to 100 of the most admired leaders across business, culture, arts, and government, one important characteristic stands out: They do everything they can to imprint their “goodness” onto others in ways that make others feel like fuller versions of themselves. Put another way, the best leaders practice a form of leadership that is less about creating followers and more about creating other leaders. How do they do that? I’ve noticed four things the best mentors do:
Put the relationship before the mentorship. All too often, mentorship can evolve into a “check the box” procedure instead of something authentic and relationship-based. For real mentorship to succeed, there needs to be a baseline chemistry between a mentor and a mentee. Studies show that even the best-designed mentoring programs are no substitute for a genuine, intercollegial relationship between mentor and mentee. One piece of research, conducted by Belle Rose Ragins, a mentoring expert and professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, demonstrated that unless mentees have a basic relationship with their mentors, there is no discernable difference between mentees and those not mentored. All this is to say that mentoring requires rapport. At best, it propels people to break from their formal roles and titles (boss versus employee) and find common ground as people. Read more…
Caroline Beaton Aug. 29, 2016
According to a recent millennial leadership survey from The Hartford, 80% of millennials see themselves as leaders today.
Yet only 12% of Gen Y held management roles in 2013; and less than a third of The Hartford’s sample reported that they’re currently business leaders.
Maybe we’re entitled and delusional. Or maybe, explained millennial expert and author of “Becoming the Boss,” Lindsey Pollak, we have a progressive understanding of what it means to be a leader. “Millennials believe they can lead from whatever position they’re in,” she said. We know we don’t need an official title to impact our organization.
But if millennials really are leading from behind, why aren’t we getting promoted?
If you’re ambitious but stuck on Level 1, below are six possible reasons. (Warning, tough love ahead.) Read more…
For most librarians, their first year working in a library is the biggest learning experience of their career. I remember coming into my first library job so clueless about, well, everything and feeling a year later like a completely different person: a professional. But that time in between was filled with cringeworthy mistakes and a whole lot of anxiety.
At the same time, I felt like I had unlimited stores of passion, energy, and ideas that year. My colleagues took me seriously even though I was green, and some of those rookie ideas became services the library still offers, like chat reference. I frequently hear about new-to-the-profession librarians who are treated by their colleagues as if they need to “pay their dues” before they
and their ideas can be given consideration. I can’t imagine how quickly my passion for my work would have waned had my ideas been met with cynicism and dismissiveness.
This attitude is not only harmful to a new librarian’s morale, it also prevents the library from taking advantage of an opportunity to get a fresh perspective on what it does. There is a golden period when someone new to the library can see everything that might be strange, confusing, or problematic. In time, we all become accustomed to our surroundings, and those problems become the barely visible flotsam and jetsam of our everyday work. We should make the most of that magical newcomer vision. I always make a point of asking new colleagues to keep track of problems they see because those fresh insights can push us out of our comfort zones and create positive change for our patrons. We want to encourage these audacious ideas, even if they’re not all feasible. Read more…
May 22, 2016
Dr. Travis Bradberry
T.S. Eliot was clearly onto something when he asked, “If you aren’t in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?” The very act of stepping outside of your comfort zone is critical to your success and well-being.
Our brains are wired such that it’s difficult to take action until we feel at least some stress and discomfort. In fact, performance peaks when we’re well out of our comfort zone. If you’re too comfortable your performance suffers from inaction, and if you move too far outside of your comfort zone you melt down from stress.
Peak performance and discomfort go hand in hand. Stepping outside of your comfort zone makes you better, and it doesn’t have to be something as extreme as climbing Mount Everest. It’s the everyday challenges that push your boundaries the most, none of which require a flight to Nepal. Step out of your comfort zone and embrace these challenges.