Every year when I was a coach, I would challenge the players to remember that our goal was to be the best team we could be, and that eventually we would need contributions from everyone. We saw the fruit of mentor leadership when we got to the Super Bowl. Nick Harper, our veteran defensive back, got hurt and couldn’t finish a game. Young Kelvin Hayden went in for him and made the game-winning interception. Kelvin was prepared for that moment in part because Nick had spent time with him and helped him to be ready. That’s the kind of chemistry great teams have.
It’s not about me.
It’s not about you.
It’s about others.
The single most important factor that differentiates mentor leaders from other leaders in any setting is their outward focus on others. Because mentor leaders are committed to building value into the lives of other people, it seems natural that they would want to cast their influence as widely as possible by creating a culture of mentoring. Here are 10 factors that go into creating a culture of mentor leaders.
- Evaluate your focus: Is it centered on benefiting others? Is it centered on benefiting others?
- Evaluate your influence: Are you focused on developing your “coaching tree” – building leaders who build leaders, generation after generation?
- Evaluate your audience: Are you able to preserve a long-term focus on growing others while at times appropriately exercising more direct control and involvement?
- Look ahead: Know your vision, mission, and values, but remember that life is about the journey, too.
- Focus on the present: What can you do today to build into the lives of the people around you? Don’t miss the now. Remember, tomorrow may never come.
- Evaluate your vision: What do you hope the future will look like as you proceed?
- Evaluate your personal and organizational mission: Does it clearly tell you and the world what you’re about, why you’re here, and why you have chosen these goals?
- Evaluate your values: Are your “rules of behavior” consistent with your principles? Does your “rudder” steer you in a good direction for how you will behave and treat others?
- Evaluate your approach with your family, team, business, friends, and others: Mentoring is a lifestyle.
- Remember that mentor leadership is all about serving. Jesus said, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).