Moving from manager to mentor

by David Lykken22 Jun 2017
When I consult with leaders in the mortgage industry, one subject I'm always sure to address is how well management is interacting with the employees. Sometimes, when I bring up the subject, people will shift the conversation to how effective employees are in their work. Of course, that's an important thing to measure. How well are employees doing their jobs? How can we get them to do that work with greater efficiency and effectiveness? These are important questions to ask.
However, in my mind, questions about employee effectiveness aren't really about employees; they're about the business process. When I engage leaders about employee relationships, I'm actually asking about how well they are doing interacting with employees—not how well employees are doing their jobs. This question is important to ask, because it places the onus on management to better serve employees. And if we aren't thinking about how we can better serve employees, we can't expect them to better serve us.
When I have these conversations with industry leaders, I often talk about shifting their roles from managers to mentors. Employees don't just want people who will tell them what to do; they want people that will actually make them excited about doing it. They want to feel a sense of purpose and inherent value in their work. As managers, we need to give them guidance and encouragement as much as we give them orders. If we want people to stick with us and give us their best work, we've got to be more than bosses; we've got to be mentors.

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