Your only job is to help your team be better.
That single idea had a huge impact on Tony Dungy, and it lead him to develop the successful leadership style so admired by players and coaches throughout the NFL and beyond.
In his book “The Mentor Leader,” Dungy reveals what propelled him to the top of his profession. He introduces the concept of “the mentor leader,” someone who takes their own gifts and skills and uses them to help others grow. Here are the methods of a mentor leader:
The Seven E’s of Enhancing Potential
Engage – it is critical for mentor leaders to engage with those they lead. It’s impossible to mentor from a distance.Mentorleaders should always be looking for ways to connect with the people they lead. They walk alongside the people they lead – and love every step. Engagement means a true open door policy, reflects attitude and approachability, not just whether the office door is propped open. Without engagement, you cannot mentor effectively.
Educate – education is an essential building block of mentor leadership. Because mentor leadership is all about helping others become the best they can be, it is built on a foundation of teaching, helping, and guiding.Mentorleaders must take a hands-on, one-on-one approach to mentoring individual lives.
Equip – mentor leaders create an environment in which others can be productive and excel. In essence, they strive to furnish what is needed for the task – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually – and to accomplish the mission. Equipping goes hand in hand with educating if we want people to perform at their highest potential.
Encourage – mentor leaders are encouragers, and encouragement is the fuel that powers a leader’s efforts to engage, educate, and equip. Encouragement helps lubricate the rough spots, but even when things are going smoothly, it’s important to build others up.Mentorleaders are better off overusing encouragement than under using it.
Empower – true empowerment is preparation followed by appropriate freedom. Once your protégé is ready, stop teaching them and let them “take the test.” Empower them by letting them go.
Energize – great leaders energize and inspire those they lead. Even as they face their own daily struggles and stresses, mentor leaders look for way s to energize and motivate the people around them.
Elevate – the ultimate goal of every mentor leader is to build other leaders. The regenerative idea that leaders produce other leaders, who in turn produce leaders – is a powerful concept for mentor leaders and their organizations. At the heart of this regeneration is the principle of elevation – raising other people up. Raising up leaders is the truly selfless goal of every mentor leader, the culmination of focusing on others.
Dungy’s methods for maximizing the potential of any individual, team, organization, or institution for ultimate success and significance are helpful for anyone considering becoming a mentor.
Whose potential will you maximize starting today?
(a reposting of a previous series on Mentoring while I am away on vacation)