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April 2005 - Mentoring: Part 1

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John Kline, PhD, inspirational and motivational keynote and after-dinner speaker and corporate trainer.April 2005

Mentoring:  Part 1

As Director of the Institute for Leadership Development at Troy (Alabama) University and frequent presenter of workshops on the subject of leadership I’m often asked the biggest failure of leaders.  I can answer unhesitatingly; it is the failure to effectively to mentor others.

Here are several reasons for this failure:

  • Mentoring takes time and effort
  • Fear those being mentored might take their jobs
  • Ignorance on how to mentor effectively
  • Leaders don’t place a  high priority on mentoring

Here’s why mentoring is important.

Future orientation.   Leaders who mentor others effectively are investing in the future.  Successful leaders must be future oriented.  Mentoring shows commitment to future success by preparing those who will play important roles in the future of the organization.

Succession planning.  Organizations should plan for who will be its future leaders, and they should prepare those people.  Today’s leaders have the knowledge and are uniquely positioned to prepare tomorrow’s leaders.

Knowledge transmission.  It takes time to learn.  But the time can be reduced by learning from the successes and failures of others.  You can touch a stove and get burned, or you can learn not to do it from somebody that has already “been there and done that.”

Organizational growth.  Mentoring helps organizations grow by planning for the future, planning for succession, and transmitting knowledge.  But it also promotes organizational health and growth by establishing and strengthening networking and communication.

Satisfies need to help others.  Most people have an inner need to help others and be instrumental in promoting their growth.  Seeing the long term positive effects of mentoring fulfils this need and enhances a leader’s self esteem.

Fulfils the responsibility to give.  Most leaders want to repay an organization that has provided opportunity to them.  One of the best ways is by mentoring future leaders who can ensure the long term success of the organization.

Next month I’ll tell how to be an effective mentor.

John Kline
Montgomery, Alabama

April 2005 - Mentoring: Part 1
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