We spend a lot of time teaching leaders what to do. We don’t spend enough time teaching leaders what to stop. Half the leaders I have met don’t need to learn what to do. They need to learn what to stop.
Peter Drucker, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith
Modern Day Mentor Assignment
Having lunch with a friend the other day, he mentioned the number of people he has been assigned to mentor recently at his Fortune 500 company. My friend is responsible. He travels frequently for his job, and makes a point of meeting with his mentees in person at least once a month. He takes his mentor responsibility seriously, and you can tell when he talks about it that he cares what happens to these people. Nonetheless, his company “assigned” his mentees to him the same way that many companies do now, sort of like an online dating service. “Oh, you went to the same college…”, or majored in the same subject, or take your pick of many factors. Like many online dating sites, they may look for matches in characteristcis, but that’s no guarantee the relationship will work. This WSJ article (subscription may be required) highlights the shift from the old mentor paradigm to the new one born of overworked executives often with little time or incentive to invest their time or reputation in the careers of others. Can it work? In my opinion it’s probably similar to arranged marriages. It can work, sometimes beautifully, but most often results are disappointing and everyone involved suffers.
Scientific American Mind: The New Psychology of Leadership — Recent research in psychology points to secrets of effective leadership that radically challenge conventional wisdom
According to a synthesis of new research, effective leadership is as much about those who are being led as it is the leader. We need to perceive our leaders as “one of us”. This helps to explain variations in leadership attributes, including the born versus made debate. A leader’s power comes from framing perceptions in ways that support achieving desired goals, gaining the deeds and words of followers without need for reward or punishment. Is this research consistent with your experiences?