How authentic leaders help mentor others

VXI Global Services Celebrates National Mentoring Month

“If you follow your why, then others will follow you.” – Simon Sinek, author/TED Talk speaker 

In an article that I recently published, I asked the question, are authentic leaders born or made? Now, I’d like to delve deeper into one responsibility that an authentic leader embraces: mentoring the next generation of leaders.

In my many years in executive positions, I’ve always been involved in mentoring young talent in the corporate world, especially the next generation of female leaders. As January is National Mentoring Month in the U.S., this is a timely topic. January is typically when many of us jump-start resolutions for the year. I can’t think of a better goal than helping guide another person toward becoming their best professional (and personal) self.

The “why” in trust

Incredibly successful business leaders, from Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg to media executive Oprah Winfrey, publicly credit their success to mentors early in their own careers – and underscore the power of this approach to engaging, elevating and empowering others to steer their own futures.

Trust is fundamental to productive mentoring. As Gina Ma, senior director of driver journey for Lyft asserted in a CNBC interview:

"The real benefit of a mentor-mentee relationship is getting to know someone personally and having that element of trust, so that you can help someone become their truest and best self."

Authenticity is at the heart of building that trusted relationship with mentees. Many people have two different sides that they show the world: A “work” self and a “home/true me” self. In contrast, authentic leaders have the confidence and conviction to marry their purpose, values and mission with the organizations that they represent.

This gets back to Simon Sinek’s advice that never wavering from your “why” is key to meaningful leadership.

At VXI, mentorships start with the “why” principle. We believe that a leader’s stories (the “why”) inspire and feed authentic passion – inspiring team members and moving teams and organizations toward amazing milestones. A leader must know other people’s stories to be able to truly understand how one’s own “why” can motivate and encourage team members, direct reports and colleagues to create their own success stories.

What’s your success story?

I frequently like to take a look back at the path that brought me to where I am right now – the work that I’ve done, the milestones that I’ve achieved, and the people who influenced me along the way. As an authentic leader and mentor, you can help others to benefit from the experiences and growth that your professional journey has afforded you.

For more actionable ideas on developing the next generation of leaders, visit MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership. I hope to hear from others who have had the experience of helping others create their own success stories – or how others have influenced your own success story!

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