Not too long ago I wrote an article about “Meat Eaters vs. Grass Eaters: Personal Power.” In that article, I described the elements of personal power—Diplomacy, Information, Manpower, Economics, Professionalism and Competition.
The first element noted was Diplomacy. Diplomacy is building and maintaining relationships outside of your personal sphere of influence. It is not becoming a sycophant. It is about having mentors. Take note, the powerful have many mentors. Mentors should be both male and female. Mentors should cut across ethnicities, race and culture.
Diplomacy is also about expanding your horizons with friendships. It is often said, and correctly said, if you are the smartest one in your group of friends, you need another group of friends. I advise you to expand your group of friends.
In this article, I briefly discuss how to go about building a mentor relationship. Expanding your circle of friends is something I am going to leave to you. I will say this about friendships—my Grandmother gave great advice in this area. It is not earth shattering; nor is it original—you want to make a friend? Be a friend.
The most effective mentor relationships are not born out of being given a mentor in the business’ formal mentoring program. The most effective mentors recognize mentees as a person who has promise and worth their time; mentors and mentees gravitate to each other.
I offer the way to be recognized as a person worthy of a mentor’s time is to demonstrate mastery of the three A’s—Action, Absence, and Alliance.
The first and most important of the three A’s is Action. The action is producing results beyond what is expected. It is taking responsibility and being accountable for what your team does or fails to do. Taking action is not succeeding at the cost of your peers. It is being the proverbial team player.
Potential Mentors worth their salt recognize the young leader who is skillful at getting the best effort out of their team, and supports the efforts of peers.
How many times have you attended meetings and witnessed the person who just cannot shut up? One assumes the person must be paid by the word. It is important to be noticed for having talent not never ending sound. The saying is if you don’t beat the drum there will be no music. Don’t forget—silence is golden.
I agree, ensuring the boss is aware of your accomplishments is important. It is always better to ensure the boss is aware of the team’s accomplishments. I caution against constantly talking. Yes, beat the drum, but not a drum roll.
It is best to allow for some absence. As you build your reputation as a person who takes action, and gives timely comments not constant comment, you will be sought for your input. One will never be sought if they are ever present.
One of the greatest mistakes I have seen aspiring leaders consistently make is to take sides on an issue.
No, I am not saying to vacillate on a matter. What I am saying is to check the facts. Be sure of what you are siding with and why. The better choice is always to remain above the fray and be on your side. I have seen too many high-potential leaders become yesterday’s news as a result of taking sides on issues with little knowledge of the problem.
Do not take sides.
The best Mentoring relationships are born out of respect. The senior executive, a potential mentor, is drawn to the up and coming mentee. The attraction is a result of the mentees ability to take action, be absent, and not align themselves with issues that they do not have full understanding.
Master the Three A’s and enjoy the mentoring. Having mentors is key to success.
© 2015 by John Boggs all rights reserved.