Teddy Roosevelt once had a little dog that was always getting in fights and always getting licked. Somebody said, "Colonel, he's not much of a fighter." Roosevelt replied, "Oh, he's a good fighter. He's just a poor judge of dogs." Leaders must be good at judging others' potential and finding and developing more leaders--good at discerning where a person is, knowing where he or she is supposed to go and providing what they'll need when they get there.
The bottom line in any successful business or organization is that no one person can do it alone. If you really want to be a great leader, you must establish a great team. A lot of people mistake that to mean they need followers, and they believe the key to their leadership is gaining more followers. But the best leaders surround themselves with other leaders. Not only is their burden lightened, but their vision is carried on and enlarged.
This is why I am such a believer in the power of mentorship. A mentor is someone who teaches, guides and lifts others up by virtue of his or her experience and insight. A mentor is someone with a head full of experience and heart full of generosity that brings those things together for another person.
Wherever you are on your leadership journey, I'll bet there is someone a bit earlier in their own who could use your mentorship. You owe it to them and to yourself to offer it. What is the point of success if we cannot share it with others?
Judging who you will share your time and experience with is of the utmost importance, because it will give your efforts the greatest odds of providing value. Here are some guidelines for selecting the right people to mentor and develop:
Select people whose philosophy or life is similar to yours.
It will be difficult to develop someone whose values are too different from your own.
Choose people with potential you genuinely believe in.
If you don't believe in them, you won't give them the time they need. And before long they will discern your lack of confidence in them. Belief in their potential, on the other hand, will empower them. Some of the nation's greatest professional athletes have come from tiny colleges that receive no publicity. All those ball players needed was for pro scouts to recognize the potential that the right opportunity could bring out. The secret of mentoring in any field is to help a person get where he or she is willing to go.
Determine what they need.
Determining what potential leaders need...