3 Words That Will Make You a Better Leader Today!

3 wordsCould it be that simple? Could there really be 3 words that I don’t have to get a dictionary to understand and that can actually make me a better leader? Well…Yes. It is that simple, but I must warn you these words are powerful and if used correctly will most likely change YOU so be prepared. Now as I reveal this list to you, you must realize that 2 truths: 1) You have to use these words for them to work, and 2) You have to be genuine when you use them. If you can get that, then you will no doubt, be a better leader because of them.

  1. We: Yes, in fact most of these words are short, but we is one of the greatest words a leader can use. A leader recognizes 2 things distinctly – All success comes from their team, and they are a part of their team, not above them. When you as manager or boss start using the word we to describe your success, “Were you able to land that big account, Ted?” “Yes. We were able to show them great value” to describe your challenges “I know you are frustrated, but we can figure this out together” and to describe your vision or mission “We want to change lives by providing them with a strategic path to becoming better leaders”; then people start to feel like they belong. This raises engagement, purpose and tenacity as we as humans (see what I did there) are much more willing to fight for a team that they feel connected with. Using we sends a clear message to everyone on your team, “I am on my way to the top but I’m only going if you come with me!”
  2. Let’s: I know I know this is technically 2 words but keep it down. Let’s, as in ‘Let’s go’, ‘Let’s do this’, ‘Let’s get started’, signals to your team that you are going to be a part of the trial and error, the not-so-fun part of the project as much as you are a part of the completion. Now I know that everyone has distinct roles within a team, but saying something like. “Okay well it looks like we will need to rerun those numbers and get them out by Thursday. Let’s start on that today and review them together on Wednesday. Will you let me know if you need my help on that?” sounds much better than, “Okay well it looks like we need to rerun those numbers and get them out by Thursday. Tim, you get those done and get them to me by Wednesday so I can critique your work.” Simple yet effective.
  3. Will: No not the name and not the estate document, I’m talking about the verb connotating a request. Will you be able to do this by Thursday? Will this be a problem for you? Will you please start working on this pronto? “Will” is a softer deliver. I know that my high D’s on the DISC scale are yelling at me right now. Those are the ones of you that send 1 word emails and want bullet points on everything. You are all saying, “Caleb that stuff is just fluff! Just say what you need to say and get it over with.” News flash! That makes you a boss not a leader. Leaders understand that while they should have a certain level of directness, it also takes a bit of finesse. Starting your request with will gives the feeling of free given effort, which is important to people. It is ultimately important your team has that. There may be consequences if they exercise that freedom to choose not to comply but still they have it and giving them a sense that you are genuinely requesting their assistance is much more palatable than a direct order.

These words or descriptions are not ground breaking or magic, but these three simple words send a clear message to your team that you understand their importance and your role in the team and they are a constant reminder that even as the boss or manager you are still a part of the team. These simple emotions will allow for deeper connections, higher engagement and lead ultimately to raising your leadership lid.

calebCaleb Bagwell/Employee Education Specialist
John Maxwell Certified Leadership Coach
Grinkmeyer Leonard Financial
Toll-Free: 866.695.5162 / Office: 205.970.9088
Birmingham: 1950 Stonegate Drive / Suite 275 / Birmingham, AL 35242
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Motivated Monday {April 25, 2016}

#‎MotivatedMonday  Not sure who needs to hear this today but I hope you all can find your joy.   Remember joy is a side effect of gratitude. I know that can be difficult for some but my hope is that you start small if you struggle.

calebCaleb Bagwell/Employee Education Specialist
John Maxwell Certified Leadership Coach
Grinkmeyer Leonard Financial
Toll-Free: 866.695.5162 / Office: 205.970.9088 
Birmingham: 1950 Stonegate Drive / Suite 275 / Birmingham, AL 35242

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The 4 Generations of Employees Who Work for You

The 4 Generations of Employees Who

Work for You
and How to Communicate with Them

4 gen

 

calebCaleb Bagwell/Employee Education Specialist
John Maxwell Certified Leadership Coach
Grinkmeyer Leonard Financial
Toll-Free: 866.695.5162 / Office: 205.970.9088 
Birmingham: 1950 Stonegate Drive / Suite 275 / Birmingham, AL 35242

Contact Caleb

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Can we fix it? Millennials in the construction industry

shutterstock_150120215The millennial generation gets a lot of press these days, and rightly so. For the first time, Millennials (individuals born between 1980 and 2000) will surpass the baby boom generation as the nation’s largest living generation. This is a significant shift for companies that now have to figure out how to most effectively attract, retain and develop these younger workers – not all of whom are following their parents’ examples when it comes to job selection, company loyalty and career paths.

The construction industry faces particularly high hurdles when it comes to attracting and retaining new employees, given the drastic ebbs and flows the industry has suffered for decades. According to our latest Talent Development Report, 86% of respondents reported that their company was experiencing skilled labor shortages. Just two years ago, only 53% of respondents were dealing with this challenge.

shutterstock_153208307To understand what young workers in construction are looking for in an employer, we examined a broad industry survey that included responses from more than 200 millennials (see “Millennials in Construction: Learning to Engage a New Workforce” for more details). The following five key findings highlight what it takes to engage this young generation of workers:

Opportunity. Our research confirms that if employees feel they’re making progress and advancing in their careers, they’ll be more likely to remain with their companies long term. This is particularly relevant for companies in the construction industry, where many firms still don’t have well-defined career tracks or comprehensive talent development and leadership programs in place. With young, ambitious Millennials needing to learn, improve and advance quickly through an organization, employers must develop better solutions and challenge the old ways of “how things used to be done” – starting with the ways people interact and collaborate with one another.

Commitment from the Top. Research shows that employees who perceive senior managements’ commitment to their well-being stay engaged and plan to remain with their companies long term, compared to those who don’t feel appreciated or valued. As one millennial survey participant stated, “Being noticed for the hard work you are doing is a big deal in the construction industry. When executives tell you they appreciate your hard work, it really goes a long way in the industry.”

Much like their predecessors, Millennials are interested in job security and stability. And despite popular belief, they aren’t poised to switch jobs as soon as another opportunity presents itself. That said, these younger workers come from a “connected” generation that truly values collaboration, teamwork and social opportunities. Our study also indicates that Millennials value the use of new and innovative technologies to solve client and corporate challenges. Letting young people contribute and participate in such meaningful ways, and taking genuine interest in their careers and personal lives, are key to engaging them long term.

Challenge. Like other generations before them, Millennials want to be challenged with interesting and meaningful work. As one millennial survey participant put it: “When trying to engage Millennials, it is important to emphasize the appealing aspects of the industry. In construction, projects are always different. Showing Millennials the challenges each project offers gives them a sense of purpose and greater determination. The constantly changing work environment offers a more exciting route compared with the monotony of replicated day-to-day activities.”

Not unlike other generations that enter the workplace, Millennials have new perspectives to share, innovative ideas about getting things done and interesting ways of tackling problems. They are less willing to accept the “old school” methods of completing work, and they are always searching for new ways to streamline processes and increase efficiencies. This mindset is critical to pushing the industry forward. Failing to nurture the innovative and inquisitive nature of younger workers will create disengagement among employees and result in a less productive workforce over time.

Clear Company Vision. Cultures focused on employee engagement require a defined and well-communicated company vision. This point is especially important for young people who are kicking off their careers. By explaining the whole picture, company leaders can connect the meaning to their employees. This, in turn, gives workers a clear sense of purpose and an understanding of how their efforts fit within the larger plan. According to our research, when the company’s vision is inspiring and clearly communicated, Millennials are 25% more likely to stay longer with the company compared to those who don’t understand the company’s vision and direction.

Good Pay. For years, thought leaders have been talking about how Millennials are just out for a purpose crusade and how they are more interested in meaning than money. Our research paints a much different picture. When asked what’s most important to them, Millennials rank competitive pay as their highest concern. Haydn Shaw, a renowned generational expert, confirmed this finding and says, “The vast majority of surveys show that Millennials rank base pay as the most important factor in selecting and staying in a job, just as the other three generations do. They want meaningful work and a supportive culture to work in, but they want a well-paying job and career advancement more.”

Sources:

Haydn Shaw. Sticking Points: How to Get 4 Generations Working Together in the 12 Places They Come Apart. July 22, 2013.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/new-research-top-5-things-millennial-employees-want-from-hoover

calebCaleb Bagwell/Employee Education Specialist
John Maxwell Certified Leadership Coach
Grinkmeyer Leonard Financial
Toll-Free: 866.695.5162 / Office: 205.970.9088 
1950 Stonegate Drive / Suite 275 / Birmingham, AL 35242
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Are we getting better?

shutterstock_148727033.jpgCalling all Millennials, again. This week has exposed some serious concerns that I would like to address. You see I am an eternal optimist. I try and usually succeed at finding the silver lining in all situations but at some point I have to begin questioning my own perspective. Today I had the incredible experience of meeting with one of Birmingham’s greatest up and coming CEO’s. We discussed many topics on employee engagement, retention and development. It truly was one of those once-in-a-journey opportunities and I am extremely grateful for his willingness to mentor me on theses subject, but it raised some serious concerns for me. Here is the meat and potatoes of the issue. Millennials have stereotypes; that’s nothing new, but are we doing anything to overcome them? Has my generation, with all their head starts and technology, really just accepted that we are lazy, underachieving and ENTITLED! I hope not, but I’m growing worried.

You guys know my 90/10 rule right; I think that 90% of Millennials are making the other 10% look bad. Sidenote: If you are offended by that, you are probably in the 90%. Seriously it’s like we are wearing those stereotypes around like a medal (note this would just be a participation medal that you didn’t actually earn because that is one of the many things we are stereotypically famous for).

Okay, okay, I’m sorry that I am hating so much on us today but I am frustrated. After my meeting today, it was recommended that I read a blog post written by Jim Cavale, President of Iron Tribe Fitness. Jim’s blog was great and extremely well-written about the difference in generations that you guys have heard me mention so many times before. The jist of his blog was that Millennials are entitled. The CEO I spoke with today recommended the article because he agreed with Jim, and I have been working with companies and their workforce all over Birmingham. Honestly, to some degree I agree with him. So here is what got me on this soap box today, the blog was written in 2013. 3 years ago! Do you know how long that is at the speed our world moves at today? I am alarmed and kind of want to shake someone because it seems like nothing has changed for our generation in that last 3 years to overcome negative traits that we possess.

It is okay to not be good at something at first. It is not okay to keep doing something poorly just because you are not good at it. That’s called settling and it is for chumps. You have got to adapt and overcome. Hear me here, I am not saying that you need to make your weakness your strengths; but I am saying that if multiple people tell you that you stink at follow-thru then you need to do something to improve that. (Thanks for telling me I’m bad at follow-thru, JAMES!) I am bad at follow-thru so I have surrounded myself with people that are really good at follow-thru. I adapted. Do you think it would be okay to go into one of my client meetings and say, “Oh by the way I’m really bad at follow-thru so don’t expect much from me outside our meeting times?” No Way!

shutterstock_305140163.jpgSo it boils down to this, when someone makes you aware of a negative trait or habit that you have, I would recommend that you seek wise council as to whether it is true. Don’t ask your friends who only tell you what you want to hear.   Seek out the people who will be candid with you.   If it is true, then you need to assess how to adapt and overcome.

Well guess what…we are entitled. I prefer to say that we are impatient but it comes across the same to your boss most likely. We get it honestly from our childhood. We grew up in a world of instant gratification (i.e. Instagram sold for a billion dollars!), but what the world is trying to tell us is that it is not okay. It is time (actually past time) for us to adapt and here are some adapting strategies that I recommend.

The fact that you have a job at all suggest that employers are trying to understand you and want to work with you, so you have to give them something to work with.

  1. Stop expecting titles: I don’t know why our generation is so fixated on titles but we all want to be “Director” or “Senior” or “Chief”. I want to make 2 points here.
    1. Titles mean nothing! They don’t change your ability to influence people, and you do not need a title to change the world.
    2. Titles are given in response to actions, not given to create action. If you want a certain title, then you need start acting the part now and then hope the title comes. Act like the Senior Manager, perform like the Senior Manager and one day, YOU WILL BE the Senior Manager.
  2. Stop asking before you think: Repeat after me, “I, {state your name}, am not special.” That’s it. If you can get that, you’ll be set. You or I not being special doesn’t mean we can’t impact the world; it simply means that the change we create was done despite our lack of specialness. So before you go ask for a raise, a promotion, an extra benefit, think about this, “If I were the boss and I had and employee identical to me, would I give them what they are asking for?” Answer it honestly then make our decision on whether to expect something or not.  Think about your actual performance. Analyze your actual productivity levels.   Assess the goals that were set for you and be darned sure you blew them away. Do not ask for anything from management based simply on the internal voice in your head (that sounds an awfully like your Mom) telling you, “You are the best! You deserve everything everyone else has.   You are the most special person in the world. There is no one else like you. “
  3. Start recognizing that it’s about value: You will probably hear me say this a million times if we stay friends long enough but I really do believe you get where you want to go in life by helping others get where they want to go. You job, your company is no exception. How can you add so much value to your company that they would want to give you the things you expect? If you want to be a manager and there is not a position currently available, be patient waiting for an opening and use the time while you are waiting to shine.   Show your management just how valuable you will be as a manager for them. If you truly work to your full potential, then it will be a no-brainer for them to give you that position when the time comes.
  4. Start being patient: Last tip and I’m sorry this seems a bit preachy, but I really recommend this one. Hitch your wagon to a company that you believe in and would want to work with for 40 years and then be patient. If it is a good company, run by good people, allowing you to do what you love, then waiting 5 years for something will be much easier. If your employer aren’t those things I just mentioned, then DON’T WORK FOR THEM! Go find a good company and then be patient with them.

Millennials are entitled and that has to change. Stop accepting this as finite truth. We can change this trait, we should change the trait.  We will benefit in the long-term so much more once we lose this entitled attitude and recognize we have to work for what is worth having.

calebCaleb Bagwell/Employee Education Specialist
John Maxwell Certified Leadership Coach
Grinkmeyer Leonard Financial
Toll-Free: 866.695.5162 / Office: 205.970.9088 
1950 Stonegate Drive / Suite 275 / Birmingham, AL 35242
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Motivated Monday {April 18, 2016}

Be intentional about those that your surround yourself with.

calebCaleb Bagwell/Employee Education Specialist
John Maxwell Certified Leadership Coach
Grinkmeyer Leonard Financial
Toll-Free: 866.695.5162 / Office: 205.970.9088 
1950 Stonegate Drive / Suite 275 / Birmingham, AL 35242
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If you get me there, I will change the world

chnage.jpg

To digress from the point in the title for a moment, I wanted to share with you why I think I really enjoy blogging. It clearly has nothing to do with my writing ability, instead I think it has everything to do with my inner monologue. In first grade I got in trouble a lot for talking in class. Mrs. Kelly, please accept my apology. 23 years later I believe the reason I talked so much was because if I am awake there is always a conversation going on in my head. Question after question rolls through my head, epiphanies make me smile as I work out problems and to some extent I have learned to keep the talking to appropriate times. I believe the conversations in my head have caused me to ask enough questions that every once in a while I come across one that is worth answering and so I write about them.

The latest came from a fictional, although great, movie called World War Z (yes I’m aware I have poor taste in movies). Brad Pitt’s character, Gerry, has just figured out how to save the world from this horrible contagion but he is on a plane. He approaches the pilot, tells him his plan, and then asks, “Can you get me there?” The pilot nods in agreement and then Brad returns to his seat. For all intents and purposes, “Gerry” is the man with the plan, but for the next 4 hours (played out onscreen in 30 minutes) the pilot was the most important person in the world! In that moment it was totally irrelevant how awesome, hardworking, brilliant, likable, handsome or even how good Gerry’s plan was, he was totally dependent on the pilot.

How often do we find ourselves in this situation in our daily life? As a business owner, manager, parent or pastor we find ourselves with the right plan, the right work ethic, the right material, but we are in one way or another totally dependent on someone else for a part of our journey. I feel like many entrepreneurs may hate this fact but it does not make it less true. This is where your ability to connect and influence people comes in. There is an old saying, I’m not sure who said it first but I heard from Rory Vaden so I am giving him credit, “If you want to go somewhere fast, go by yourself. If you want to go somewhere far, go with others.” In my limited experience on this earth, I can tell you with certainty that anywhere worth going is far and you will undoubtedly need others to get there.

I urge you, no implore you to be mindful of this truth as you move through life and never feel the burden or the falsehood that you can or should do this on your own. You can’t. You were never intended to, so stop trying. You may have to go on parts of your journey alone while you are convincing people of your dream or purpose, but eventually you will need to engage others.

There is no magic mojo that makes you special. This is another fact I think many entrepreneurs will hate. We are all subject to life’s unfairness and trials yet I hear stuff like this all the time from business owners, “Everyone in the company could leave and long as I am here the company would continue.” Really?  How utterly wrong, how arrogant, how sad because the truth is if you build your company that way you probably aren’t going very far. Employees – You wouldn’t be able to pay your bills if it weren’t for your boss.   Bosses – Your widgets don’t get made if it weren’t for your employees so we have to start acting like we all depend on one another. Our individual importance will vary at different times in our lives and in different relationships, but it will never be true that we don’t need others.

I think it is funny to watch people’s reaction when I say I plan to change the world. Generally polite acknowledgment is the response but behind their eyes you see their thoughts. “Awww, that’s nice. He thinks he can do that.” I can, I know I can and I also know that I cannot do it by myself. I need you, whoever you are, to join me in your workplace, at your home, in your church or community to start realizing that we can change the world through the way we interact with one another. My focus will be on your workplace because I want to meet you where you spend a lot of your time, at work, but it will be up to you to take it from there. I can see the difference we can make, I can see the happiness that can come from a good company culture and I can see the ripple effect to the world. So today I say let’s start acknowledging those around us and saying, “If you can get us there, we will change the world!”

Warning this last paragraph is about my faith. If you don’t want to hear about it, you can stop reading now. My intention is to never to offend anyone.

“Woe is he that falls and has no one there to help him up.” Ecclesiastes 4:10

The fact that we will always need others was made clear 2000 years ago when the God of the universe sent His son to die on a cross for you and me. Don’t you see the message in that? Our sin had separated us from God and there is nothing we can do on our own to reconcile ourselves with God. Without His sacrifice there would be no path for us to spend eternity in heaven. We are divinely created to need something we cannot provide on our own.  God programmed us this way.

calebCaleb Bagwell/Employee Education Specialist
John Maxwell Certified Leadership Coach
Grinkmeyer Leonard Financial
Toll-Free: 866.695.5162 / Office: 205.970.9088 
1950 Stonegate Drive / Suite 275 / Birmingham, AL 35242
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Motivated Monday – {April 11, 2016}

‎#MotivatedMonday‬ –  Murphy’s Law might happen, but you can always have confidence in Him.  Join me this week as we go over how to emotionally deal with losing momentum.

calebCaleb Bagwell/Employee Education Specialist
John Maxwell Certified Leadership Coach
Grinkmeyer Leonard Financial
Toll-Free: 866.695.5162 / Office: 205.970.9088 
1950 Stonegate Drive / Suite 275 / Birmingham, AL 35242
Contact Caleb

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25 Interesting Facts About Millennials

Jamie Kertis – our advisor that oversees retirement plan design – wrote a great article last week about Millennials.  Her blog has some fascinating content for human resource professionals, accountants, high-level executives and those who work on retirement plan committees in their company.

I would love to hear from you.   How do you think these factors affect our workforce?

1abThere were 53.5 million Millennials employed in the United States as of May 2015, and by 2025, this generation will comprise almost 75% of the US workforce. Think about that, in less than 10 years 3 out of 4 people who are working in America will be have born between 1980 and 2001.      How much do you know about this upward rising generation other than their stereotype? Yes, they are adults who still like to play video games.   Yes, they have no idea what a typewriter was used for.   And, yes they are technology-dependent, eco-friendly, hipsters who like music that no other generation can possibly tolerate; but there’s more.

Here are 25 things to think about as you recruit, hire and retain Millennial employees:

  1. Pay ranks first among job factors that matter most to this cohort. Meaningful work is second, positive relationships with co-workers third and flexibility fourth.
  2. 82% of Millennials did not negotiate their salary, either because they were uncomfortable doing so or didn’t realize it was an option.
  3. 37% of Millennials left their first full-time job within two years.
  4. 26% said a better salary would have kept them around longer; 17% would have stayed with a clearer sense of how to advance in the organization.
  5. 63% know someone who had to move back home because of the economy.
  6. Millennials list Google, Apple, Facebook, the US State Department and Disney as their top ideal employers.
  7. 94% enjoy doing work that benefits a cause.
  8. 63% want their employer to contribute to a social cause.
  9. 77% would prefer to do community work with other employees, rather than on their own.
  10. 57% want their organization to provide companywide service days.
  11. 47% had volunteered on their own in the past month.
  12. 75% see themselves as authentic and are not willing to compromise their family and personal values.
  13. $45,000 is the average amount of debt carried by Millennials.
  14. More than 63% of Millennial workers have a bachelor’s degree, but 48% of employed college grads have jobs that don’t require a four-year degree.
  15. 70% have “friended” their colleagues or supervisors on Facebook.
  16. $24,000 is the average cost of replacing a Millennial employee.
  17. 15% of Millennials are already managers.
  18. 56% wouldn’t work for an organization that blocks social media access.
  19. 69% believe it’s unnecessary to work from the office regularly.
  20. 41% have no landline phone access and rely solely on their mobile phone.
  21. 65% of Millennials say losing their phone or computer would have a greater negative impact on their daily routine than losing their car.
  22. 29% of Millennial workers think work meetings to decide on a course of action are very efficient. Compared to 45% of Boomers
  23. 54% want to start a business or already have done so.
  24. 35% have started a side business to augment their income.
  25. 80% of Millennials said they prefer on-the-spot recognition over formal reviews, and feel that this is imperative for their growth and understanding of a job.

1a.jpgThere is a lot of interesting facts here. I think we could use them in all sorts of contexts; think about it all specifically in terms of hiring employees and even more important for retaining them. Employee turnover costs skyrocketing. According to the Center for America Progress, the replacement cost of an employee who earns $30,000 to $50,000 a year is 20% of annual salary for those mid-range positions. So the cost to replace a $40k employee would be $8,000. For higher level employees, the replacement costs skyrockets to 150-200%.   For a $100,000 employee, the cost just to replace him/her can be easily $150,000.

The influence of a strong company culture is a huge factor that results can equate to what Gen Xers and Baby Boomers look at as loyalty.   Millennials can be long-term, engaged employees, but not at 1970, 1990 or even 2010 standards.   It is time to make some changes.   It will cost you too much not to.

Sources:

  • Society for Human Resource Management, The Brookings Institution, Dan Schawbel

 

calebCaleb Bagwell/Employee Education Specialist
John Maxwell Certified Leadership Coach
Grinkmeyer Leonard Financial
Toll-Free: 866.695.5162 / Office: 205.970.9088 
1950 Stonegate Drive / Suite 275 / Birmingham, AL 35242
Contact Caleb

Follow Caleb on LinkedIn

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Finding and being a mentor

mentorA mentor is kind of a weird thing for a leader to seek out, don’t you think? Most leaders are so focused on looking like they are in control that the thought of someone mentoring them is almost offensive. “I don’t need a mentor, I am the mentor”, “What would my team think about me if they thought I needed a mentor?” Both of these are common for leaders to say or think and both are not entirely bad thoughts, but I think they generally come with a negative mindset that should be reversed. I was told a long time ago that I should always have a mentor and I should always be a mentor, so to the comment “I am the mentor” you are right, as a leader you should most definitely be a mentor to your team, but that does not mean that you wouldn’t benefit from having someone to speak truth into your life. “What would my team think?” Hmmmm….maybe that you are human, you are always looking for ways to better yourself, that you are humble.   That wouldn’t be so bad would it?

The purpose of having a mentor is to help you grow and mentors come in all shapes and sizes. My father is a mentor, my bosses are mentors, my co-workers are mentors, and some of my friends and family are mentors. I am mostly likely the only one in those relationships that view it as formal but you better believe that I treat their advice and wisdom as gold. Imagine a mentor as someone who is watching a horror movie. From outside the situation, they may be able to see what’s happening in other rooms, piece things together that give clear pictures of what about to happen next, and they may be able to yell at you to not open that door because the killer is in that room. Ever the heard the expression, “I couldn’t see the forest, for the trees”?   Well, mentors are there to help you see the forest.   I take notes, I call with strategic questions, I seek objective, non-biased feedback on any situation that I think carries risk and above all, I LISTEN! In almost every situation mentees will have opinions formulated about the topic they need to discuss, and in doing that they are coming in loaded. Trying hardest to seek advice without projecting and desiring totally honest feedback, even if it is not what you want to hear, is the best way to approach your mentor.   It is the only way that really pays off.

WARNING: Not all people are good mentors! (There I said it.) The art of “projecting” goes both ways and you may run into “mentors” whose advice is coming solely from their opinion or personal experience and it may not be the right solutions for you. Do not confuse their passion for a certain situation for factual advice. You have to use your brain in this as well. Now if you have multiple people telling you the same things, you need to listen.

So what should you look for in a good mentor?

  1. Look for someone who has been where you want to go: Wisdom = Knowledge + Experience if you can find someone that has already achieved many of the goals that you have set for yourself and they are willing to share their experiences with you, you have a heavyweight contender for your mentor! Seriously think about it. My dad always taught me, “A smart man learns from his mistakes, but a wise man learns from the mistakes of others.” Can you imagine the wisdom you can gain from talking to someone that has driven the road necessary to reach your goals and they are willing to warn you where the pot holes are?
  2. Look for someone that will be honest: My mom and I joke about the TV Show, “The Goldbergs”. It’s about this family in the 80s and the mom is always accused of having “Mom Goggles” on. Basically it means that in this mom’s eyes, her kids can do no wrong. In one episode the son wants to be a singer and the mom is nothing but encouraging; but the truth was that he stunk at singing. My mom and I have this relationship, I could call home and say, “Mom I’m going to buy a Subway Franchise on the moon” and she would say, “Aw sweetie that is so great, I’m so proud of you!” Mom I love you! The point here is that kind of encouragement is not always helpful. IN that same lunar Subway situation, a good would mentor would say, “Interesting Caleb, can I ask a few questions about that, like how do your customers get to the moon?” Side note: My mother is brilliant and when her “mom goggles” are not on, she is a great mentor to me.   She is an amazing school teacher and guidance counselor and for 30+ years, she has change the lives of hundreds of people!
  3. Look for someone with your common core beliefs: I think this is very important, while I think you should always be humble enough to accept advice from anyone willing to give it; you should carefully consider their advice before you use it. The biggest consideration in my opinion is, “Does this person share my convictions and beliefs?” I had the opportunity to meet with a young man trying to make his way into the real estate world. He sought the advice of an older more experienced developer as a “mentor”. It was not long until he realized that their views on the appropriate way to do business were very different. The young man definitely wanted to make money but not at the expense of anyone else, and his so called mentor felt that each person was responsible for taking care of themselves and so if someone else let him take advantage of them then it was their own fault. Needless to say that relationship did not last long.

The mentor/mentee relationship can be a very powerful tool. Imagine if that is the way your department worked. Every new hire, every mid-level manager, every supervisor was being mentored and mentoring for someone else in the office. Zig Ziglar said it best, “The best way to get what you want is to help others get what they want.” To the wise, how can you help someone without as much wisdom? To the inexperienced, how can you humbly ask someone to share their wisdom? Answering those questions my change your life.

calebCaleb Bagwell/Employee Education Specialist
John Maxwell Certified Leadership Coach
Grinkmeyer Leonard Financial
Toll-Free: 866.695.5162 / Office: 205.970.9088 
1950 Stonegate Drive / Suite 275 / Birmingham, AL 35242
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