Part of being a business owner or entrepreneur is knowing when to step back and trust the people you’ve hired. As an entrepreneur, there comes a time when you grow your business from a team of one to a team of many. It’s around this time that you stop wearing all the hats and start handing out some of the hats you’ve been wearing to other people. But the one hat that should firmly stay on your head is as a mentor or coach to your team.
For many entrepreneurs, it can be hard to give up this control; they keep the “micromanaging” hat rather than switching to the mentorship hat. So how can you become an effective mentor for your team so they feel like they can come to you?
Connect With Your Team
The most important things to do, and often the hardest and most time consuming, is connecting with each individual member of your team. Creating this kind of relationship can help build trust on both sides of any relationship, including a mentor and employee relationship. Making valuable connections with someone and finding common ground can make some of the harder parts of mentorship easier. Having these strong understandings of your team members also helps you to better understand their strengths and areas for growth — something vital for any mentor to understand.
Look for an Assistant Coach
You are only one person, and chances are this is a team of many. Universal law dictates that, at some point, you’re going to get very busy, and everyone’s going to need something at the same time. Having a champion, or champions, among your team to step in and help others as an assistant coach can help you prioritize where you’re needed most without ignoring some members of your team.
Promote Honesty & Communication
Having a two-way street when it comes to honest communication is vital in a mentoring role. You should be just as comfortable receiving constructive criticism as you are offering it up — and your employees should know that. Part of honest communication is also approaching any situation with empathy and understanding. Having empathy for another person is easier when you truly know who they are and have developed that connection. Are you starting to see how all of these tips work together, hand-in-hand, to make you the best mentor you can be?
Lead by Example
If you don’t show that you’re open to constructive criticism, why should your employees be happy to receive it? If you don’t try to develop a relationship with a member of your team, why should they go out of their way to get to know you? Being a mentor means leading by example on all fronts. Want a determined, independent, communicative, and hard-working team? You guessed it, you’re going to have to behave that way.
Set Goals & Track Them
You’re the captain of your ship. Your team is looking to you for guidance and to do your job so that they can do all the jobs you’ve hired them for. If you’re too busy running around the ship making sure everyone is doing their job, no one’s steering the ship or watching what way you’re going. Being a coach means standing back and monitoring how your team is tracking towards the goals you’ve set. It means setting goals your team is on board with and wants to work towards, then making sure you’re reaching key milestones along the way to accomplishing those goals.
Being a great mentor is like any role — it takes time and practice. Some of us are more naturally suited to being an effective coach or mentor, but it is a skill that you can improve on. At Genesa, we offer entrepreneurial coaching to help you become the leader your team deserves. Give us a call today and let us coach you on the importance and skills involved in great mentorship.