by Sam, Management 3.0 Team
At Management 3.0 we like to challenge the Future of Management. What does this mean? Challenging individuals, companies and leaders to assess their current practices and look at things from a different perspective.
One of the best ways to do this is to delve into the world of mentoring. A mutually beneficial learning exchange where two (or more) willing parties can gain from each other. To bring this to light I’ve taken a page (or two) from Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In.
But before we get to the book let’s discuss a bit about the general idea for mentorship.
Mentorship isn’t about what’s in it for you. It’s about choosing to have a mutual exchange with someone who you want to both impart things to and learn from. Even if you’re the mentor it doesn’t mean you can’t learn from your mentee. In fact, if you’re not learning from your mentee then you might want to consider looking for another relationship to foster.
It’s about mutual growth and having someone to speak to, bounce ideas off of and this needs to be someone you trust and think highly of.
Some people ask if a mentor should be paid. There are no ‘shoulds’, but the essence of this relationship is that it happens because two parties want to play an active part in nurturing the relationship. It’s not about money, it’s about a genuine interest to be part of something that can contribute to your life and the other person’s.
In her book Sheryl Sandberg highlights a few key takeaways, particularly focused on what we, as a society, need to do in order to redefine the future of management, for women, and for everyone and also how to choose a positive mentor/mentee relationship. Here are some of her key takeaways on all fronts.
Lean In Lessons Learned
#1: Sit at the Table: This is Sandberg’s signature phrase. It’s the essence of her book. She says that you’ll never get to the corner office if you’re not even sitting at the table. Sandberg recounts moments where she’d walk into a boardroom and all of the men would be seated at the main table and the women would be standing behind or squashed in the corner. She says she’s even gone up to many of them – before, during and after the meeting – encouraging them to “lean into” the discussion and take a seat.
Her message: If in the future women want to have more leadership roles and be in more boardrooms, they have to make a point of sitting at the table and joining the conversation
#2: There’s no Such Thing as Doing it All: Sandberg says:
Having it all. Perhaps the greatest trap ever set for women was the coining of this phrase
She says that those few words, although intended to be aspirational, instead make us feel like we’ve fallen short. Sandberg says that no one has it all and that’s ok! This is something many of us struggle with as we often feel guilty for not spending enough time with family, or not going the extra mile at work and being uber productive.
Her message: After a lengthy chapter where Sandberg explores this on an emotional, psychological and physiological level she concludes:
If I had to embrace a definition of success, it would be that success is making the best choices we can…and accepting them
#3: Don’t Seek Out Your Mentor: Sandberg dedicates a full chapter to explaining that if you have to ask the question, ‘ are you my mentor?’, that person is not your mentor. She emphasizes how many women in particular are in constant search of someone to guide them. She gave the example of one talk she did, that when answering audience questions afterwards the men asked her about how to manage a business, while the women focused on how to manage a career.
The women wanted permission and help and I realized that searching for a mentor has become the professional equivalent to waiting for Prince Charming
Her message: Mentors are important but it has to happen organically and the two of you have to click. Instead of asking people to be your mentor, ask them questions, ask for advice from time to time and update them on your progress. It usually ends up being a mutually beneficial relationship.
#4: Make your Partner a Real Partner: This is another ‘signature Sandberg’ and one piece of advice that particularly stuck out. She praises her now late husband, for working with her as a true teammate and says that women and men need to find partners who respect and encourage their decisions and who will pick up the slack when need be.
As women must be more empowered at work, men must be more empowered at home
Her message: Find a partner who’s willing to truly be your fifty-fifty partner and establish that from the outset.
Read on to learn more about how can mentorship hack your agility and how can mentoring be more agile?
What do you think about mentorship? Have you ever tried it? Share your success and lessons-learned stories with us!
Photo: Christian Joudrey (Unsplash)