Developing Strong Mentor Relationships

Written by Chukwuma Asala for Gaebler Ventures

What does it take to be a mentor? How do you establish good mentoring relationships with the key members on your team?

Having a good mentor/mentee relationship with key members of your team is paramount to your successes in business.

The goal is to inevitably have your knowledge passed down effectively through your organization so your people can do what you do with their eyes closed. This frees you up mentally to focus on other more important matters and always gives you added confidence in your team's ability to grow.

Here are some key tips on developing strong mentoring relationships:

Be transparent

The best relationships you will ever have are built on a foundation of trust. Trust however is not a right you deserve to have from the people working with you but is something you must earn over time. And trust me it takes time to earn trust with people. One of the quickest ways to develop trust is to be as transparent as possible with the people with your team. This is not usually easy for most leaders because most people have the impression that if you're in high position appearing to be human will work against you. This is false and a big mistake of many leaders across all industries. The fastest way to develop good relationships is to help them see you as just one of them. Be willing to open up about yourself if they are willing to get to know you. Remind them consistently that you want a good relationship with them and you will be amazed at how that sincerity will touch them. Remember, most bosses don't give a rip about building relationships with their people. If you can do this you've already separated yourself from 90% of the people out there.

Make it your responsibility

Most of your employees are going to be weary of trying too hard to build a relationship with you for fear of being referred to as a "politician" or "brown-nosing" which are common traits of employees who are trying to get ahead. To help them get over this hurdle take the personal responsibility to build relationships with the people you work with. Do not wait for them to come to you. Seek them out consistently and they will respond to you in kind. Most people will work tirelessly for someone they respect, like and trust versus someone they fear and really have no personal connection with.

Be growth-conscious

This is by far the most important thing you need to do if you want to have strong mentor relationships with people you work with. It takes a strong leader to develop and lead a strong team. This also means that if you're not strong enough for the strong people in your team they will not follow you. The goal is to make sure you are always staying ahead of the game. Make sure you're always mentally sharp so your knowledge is still valuable to your team. This is not to say you will not inevitably have people who are better at what you do than you but that's the ultimate goal to work yourself out of doing things. Just remember that people need to know that the buck stops with you for everything. As long as you're always growing and developing yourself professionally and personally you will always be invaluable.

Chukwuma Asala is an international student from Nigeria who is studying to earn an MBA from the State University of New York in Albany. He has analyzed more than 20 industry case studies throughout his education thus far, and hopes to bring some of his business knowledge to Gaebler.com.

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