In my ongoing work as an education leader, I strive to establish various informal mentorship relationships to cultivate growth and leadership opportunities for educators who demonstrate both ambition and potential. I believe that serving as a mentor can truly make a positive difference when connecting various experience levels, specific skills, and interpersonal abilities. As I spend time with fellow educators, I try to align their strengths with potential growth opportunities. I look at qualities such as dedication, time commitment and willingness, varied interests, self-motivation, leadership potential, ability to collaborate, pursuit of continuous learning, and overall grit. As mentor, I adjust my analysis to remain cognizant of shifts in any of these factors. It is always my purpose to support, teach, involve, provide guidance, encourage, and whenever possible – construct opportunities.
Here are 10 goals I aspire to as I build leadership capacity in those I mentor:
- Build a culture of continuous growth and learning in which knowledge is continually shared in a collaborative team approach
- Bring innovative programs and experiences to our schools and encourage mentees to become active participants in these new opportunities.
- Enhance the leadership and coaching skills of future education leaders by finding mentees (or mentor candidates) for them – allowing them to practice advisory roles or assume responsibility for the learning goals of other educators
- Model ambition and continuous self-growth through active engagement in organizations, education communities, scholarly opportunities, publishing, presentations, workshops, certification programs, networking, etc.
- Encourage mentored educators to voluntarily and eagerly pursue greater productivity in the workplace. (Committees, after-school clubs, service projects, representation at events, etc.)
- Encourage mentees to seek advice without fear of judgement or failure.
- Support educators to work toward their full potential and promote their OWN goals for personal and professional development. Help them to realize their strengths and overcome obstacles.
- Spread positivity through our work environment and organization. Publicly share the successes and triumphs of those who are mentored loudly and proudly. Raise them up by presenting them as role models.
- Give them wings and let them fly! Encourage mentees to create new ideas and projects of their own, and assure them that there is always a willing support, understanding listener, or helping hand.
- My overarching goal is always to grow new leaders. When it comes to leaders of the future, I aspire to inspire.
Recently I was filled with tremendous pride when I received the news that several of my dear friends – and especially a few of those whom I mentor – achieved recognition for various accomplishments in the field of education. It is indeed akin to the intense pride a parent feels when his child goes off to build a home for himself, or that a mama bird feels when her babies are ready to test their wings beyond the comfort of the nest.
As mentor leaders, we hold their hands as they negotiate their paths, we build their confidence, we watch them take their first steps, we watch nervously as they test and climb so many tenuous rungs, and then… we can just swell with pride as they use all that we have given them…to leap, and hopefully soar…and to begin to find their own place as they, too, aspire to inspire.
And we remain ever dutiful with outstretched hands to hold, shoulders to lean on, safety nets for comfort, and the wisdom of experience available for the asking. As mentor leaders, our pride is secondary only to our profound gratitude that we have been chosen by you…to inspire you.
With extreme gratitude and heartfelt congratulations to my many friends and innovative learners & leaders who have gone on to earn awards, distinctions, certifications and accolades of your own. Bravo!