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Mentoring Vs. Managing:
A Reflection on Leadership

by Lindsay Tafelski

Colleagues business woman working together in the office

Is a leader a good manager, a good mentor or both? Managing is the ability to oversee the “stuff”: timelines, projects and goals. Mentoring is sincerely caring about and engaging in the emotional and intellectual growth of another person. A good leader has to balance both.

I met my boss when I moved to Green Bay. He instantly introduced me to the local culture—the customs, events, businesses, people and the cheese curds! Our interactions were built upon trust, honor and respect—eventually building a life-long friendship. He taught me to always give a firm handshake and felt that humility and kindness could take you far in life.  He had me attend as many events as possible throughout our community, while gaining inner confidence in my networking ability. He didn’t just tell me what I should do, but he also showed me how to do it.

He wanted me to succeed in not only in business, but in life. And, for that, I will never be the same. He took the time to guide me and was truly like a second father. After his retirement, we continued growing our bond at Packer games, family weddings, and dinners. When his family contacted me that he had fallen ill, I immediately went to his side. I had the honor of being with him and his family when he unexpectedly passed. He was more than a mentor; he was family. I am grateful for his knowledge and patience in developing me into the banker I am today.

“Mentorship Matters”

“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” – Sir Isaac Newton

In the words of Newton, mentors extend vision, enabling protégés to attain greater heights. In short, mentors provide undeniable counsel and resources that may not be easily accessible. You cannot “do,” “go” or “be” all by yourself. Eventually, you will need people and people will need you. No one is an island.

Top 5 Reasons You Need a Mentor:

Mentors Coach

Mentors prepare you for change. The economy of the new workforce does not operate solely on hard work, but rather on smart work. You need to get smarter about people, relationships, processes, opportunities, and strategies.

Mentors Motivate

Mentors fine-tune and transform your vision. They provide ideas, thoughts and insights that challenge and enable you to see beyond your sphere of influence. Mentors elevate you by making their shoulders your platform.

Mentors Challenge

Mentors refuse to let you settle on your oars and challenge you to go farther than you can possibly imagine. They pat you on the back for your successes, guide you in extracting lessons from your failures and, by so doing, push you far.

Mentors Protect

Mentors protect and nurture their protégés from premature exposure. They provide insights on how to navigate political landmines in organizations and how to make sound business decisions in your startup or engagements. Their counsel prevents missteps that could otherwise derail your success.

Mentors Advise

Mentors use their stories and perspectives to paint a picture of what is possible. They use words and their actions to support you—building you up for more than you ever thought possible.

I urge you to seek out a mentor or offer your own mentoring abilities in this new year. The positive effects of this one small decision are endless.