The 1 st Mentor Mentor was the son of Alcumus in ancient Greek mythology. As an old man, Mentor became a great friend of Odysseus. Odysseus left Mentor in charge of his son, Telemachus, when Odysseus left for the Trojan War. Telemachus is a central character in Homer’s Odyssey. Telemachus & Mentor
Today’s Mentor: A more experienced person, in some cases a trusted friend, a counselor, or a teacher. Mentoring programs are very popular today. These programs pair a newcomer to a more experience person. The experienced person will give advice, provide good examples, and in general become a trusted friend who knows the “ropes”.
Famous Mentors Mentors of today help the less experienced person to build their career, gain education, and build networks. There have been many people who have benefited from mentors. Freddie Laker mentored Richard Branson (business) Aristotle mentored Alexander the Great (politicians) Mel Gibson mentored Heath Ledger (actors) Eddy Merckx (5-time Tour de France winner) mentored Lance Armstrong (7-time Tour de France winner) (athletes) Diana Ross mentored Michael Jackson (musicians) Dr. Dre mentored Snoop Dogg (rappers) Batman mentored Robin Yoda mentored Luke Skywalker
Big Sisters and Big Brothers of America Boys and Girls Clubs of America Boy and Girl Scouts
Make a real and genuine connection with your members. –Members who are connected to the club become committed to the club. –Members who are connected to the club are more likely to speak up because they know that their opinions matter. –Mentors that are connected to their club members also understand their member’s needs. Think of the relationship between children and parents. Parents put themselves on the line for their children. They take risks, make themselves vulnerable, and suffer disappointments. They are hands on, up close, they guide, and they coach. Their objective is to help the child be everything that he or she can be.
In order to make a genuine connection, listen. –To listen effectively follow these basic steps; ask questions listen to their responses summarize in your mind what they said feed this summary back to the other person ask follow-up questions repeat the process –Use body language when listening to show that you are listening –Show interest with your facial expressions –Whenever possible use “we” and “us” rather than “I” and “you”
Some ways to really connect besides listening is to be visible. –Write personal notes or emails –Make personal phone calls –Sit with members you interact with the least –Spend more time with members during stressful times and during major projects –Look at every person you see as if they wore a sign that said “Make me feel important”.
Communication involves giving –Direction –Feedback –Encouragement
Direction –Members need to have information in order to feel connected to the club. –Open communication can be accomplished by regular meetings, email, voice mail, and simple casual discussions. –Let your members take turns leading club projects and/or meetings. This encourages them to accept a leadership role and gives them practice on meeting structure, delineation of responsibilities to others, and follow-up. It also makes members realize that it is much easier to complain than to fix problems. Members are also less likely to blindly blame others when they are responsible for fixing problems. –You should also encourage communication to be two-way. New members can provide suggestions to improve the club. Some of the best ideas on projects, fund raising, and operations come from new members. –Give your members direction on the projects that are assigned to them. Most of the time when a member doesn’t perform as you want, it is because no one told them to do something they were supposed to do.
Feedback –We are sometimes hesitant to give feedback on negative performance, but most members can accept constructive criticism if it is delivered in a caring and professional manner. When you give honest and meaningful direction, you are showing members that you value their work and input. When giving constructive criticism: –write out what you are going to say beforehand –think about it overnight –then review your notes –your meeting should be quiet, private, and not rushed Constructive criticism can lead to motivated members, while non-constructive criticism will lead to defensive and discouraged members. Seek solutions, not blame. Examples will help the member to become more aware of the conduct they exhibit. Point out the things the member did achieve. If your talk focuses on the negative to the exclusion of the positive, it is not motivating. Allow time for the member to participate by asking questions, respond to your feedback, and to offer suggestions.
Be careful that when you ask for feedback that you do not punish your members for doing what is expected. –Have you ever been in a meeting when a member has a suggestion and then that member immediately is assigned all the work and put in charge of that project? Most projects require teamwork and are impossible to accomplish by one person. –Have you encouraged new ideas, but get mad when the member produces innovations not in your mindset? Members will eventually quit making suggestions at your club meeting if they feel punished when they do the expected.
Encouragement –Members may not have the strategies in place to complete a task. It could be a lack of training or just being “hung up” on a particular situation. –Mentors must step up and encourage or coach their members. Without this encouragement, members will start feeling stressed and overwhelmed. –Coaching will help the member feel a sense of power and purpose and also add to their self- confidence. –Mentors can also help club members discover their own personal success strategies that the member can utilize on future projects.
Making Goals –Ask members why they joined the club and what they hope to gain from the club. This can help you, the mentor, to determine what that member’s goals are and how their goals interact with the club’s goals. –Goals should be developed with the end results in mind. Goals need to be specific –the more specific and detailed the target is, the more you can visualize the outcome. Goals need to be motivating –Members must be involved in the goal setting in order for the goals to be motivating. If they are not, they will typically lose interest. –When members set their own goals, they are more likely to be met by the membership. Goals need to be achievable –As a mentor, one of your jobs is to make sure that the goals are achievable. –You may have to focus the goals. »They may be too easy to obtain and you might need to challenge the membership, or they may be too hard to obtain and you may need to soften the goals or go along with the goals if the member is an overachiever. Goals should be relevant to the main objective of the club. Goals should be time bound –A time frame and deadline should be set for each goal. This deadline should be realistic, but challenging at the same time. –There are other things you may what to consider when setting goals. One is that too many goals are overwhelming to the club. Goals should also change as conditions change, which means that the goals should be reviewed frequently.
Training –Training opportunities are a good way to help members achieve their goals. –Tie the training to actual involvement. You might choose to pair a new member with a member that is currently in charge of a project that the new member is interested in. Members are more likely to feel a connection to the club if they feel they are making a contribution to that club while in a learning curve. –Consider these things when allowing for training; allow members to select the area in which they are most interested ask the member what they hope to learn meet with them to see what they learned Finally, ask the member to share what they learned with the rest of the club. –Another idea is to swap members with area clubs. Members would attend a particular meeting or project and then bring ideas back to their home club.
Recognition –When giving recognition, four things need to be considered; be specific about what the recognition is for be sincere acknowledge their effort and/or energy ensure that it is timely –Recognition need not always be monetary. It can be in the form of prizes, thank you letters, etc. Whatever the method you choose to recognize or reward your members is, be sure that you know what your members would like. –Rewards should never be given for not performing or for inappropriate behavior. –You should also take care that you don’t over recognize in that it becomes less sincere. –You must be genuine when giving rewards or the rewards will have the opposite effect of motivation.
Competition –Rewards may be tied into competition. Most people are a little competitive by nature and competition is a great motivator. It may be a goal that is set by the President or even a contest set by various divisions. –There are more subtle ways to introduce competition. The hiring of the first male secretary at my place of work did the trick. We were implementing a new personal computer office suite (Microsoft Suite) and none of the secretaries wanted to learn the new suite. The new male secretary already knew the suite, but those ladies were not going to be out done by a “MAN”. Competition is a great motivator.
Commitment includes –Empowerment –Incentives –Leadership by Example
Empowerment –You must empower your members. –When an member feels empowered, they are more likely to take responsibility for their actions and take more risks for the benefit of the club. –Some common ways to empower people are: give them the lead in a project of their choice allow them to tell you what they really think and not be afraid of consequences ask them what they would do in your situation. –Basically, allowing members the independence and permission to make decisions on their own and follow through with their decisions. –However, you must make sure the member is trained on how the club operates or you might have a member over spending or over extending the club.
Incentives –Incentives are different than recognition in that incentives are given to all members and recognition is only given to good performers. –With the high competition for club members, we have to be creative in not only attracting, but retaining these members. –We must think outside the box so to speak and offer non-traditional incentives. PI has offered incentives in the form of paid PI dues.
Leadership by Example –We must also set the example of motivation. –We must display enthusiasm, energy, team cooperation, honesty, integrity, and commitment. –We must treat our members with respect and dignity. –We must give them the tools they need to accomplish their goals and encourage them to succeed. –We must provide leadership. –We must guide the activities of members, using communication, influence, and persuasion techniques to persuade members to take specific actions or think in certain ways. –We must Lead by Example!
Some simple things you can do to increase the fun factor in your club are: – recognizing birthdays or anniversaries – awards banquets – hosting social events (picnics, parties, etc.) – having casual days – having stress relief activities (massage, exercise, etc.)
In conclusion –Make a genuine connection with your members. –Listen to them and relate to them. –Once a connection is made, practice and use good two way communication with your members. –Provide direction, feedback, and encouragement. In your communication, coach your members. Help them to set goals, train them, recognize their accomplish- ments of goals, and provide some competition. –While coaching your members, commit to them. –Commit to empowering them, giving them non- traditional incentives, and lead by example. –Finally, have a little fun. Life is not about all work and no play. –Our membership is personal – people commit themselves to other people, not to organizations.
References M&M Pictures from the M&M website http://us.mms.com/us/ http://us.mms.com/us/ Shrum, Cynthia Poole (2007). More M & M’s.