Becoming a Manager and Mentor

A mentor is a vital role that managers play in business.  Since there is rarely a dedicated “mentor” position in a company, it is important for managers to become good mentors to those they supervise and work with.


What Is A Mentor?

A mentor is an experienced and trusted advisor who guides the way for others to follow by their example.  Mentors must have a vision of who they are as a mentor, as well as a vision of what they want people to become by following their example.  Having a vision of themselves as a mentor means acknowledging the skills and abilities they have.  It also means being capable and willing to pass these skills on to others and understanding how their mentees, or apprentices, view them as a mentor. Mentors understand they set a standard others will follow, and strive to be the best examples they are capable of being.

Mentors must also have a vision for the apprentices or employees they will work with.  A mentor must be able to gauge if an employee:

  • Wants to learn
  • Is teachable
  • Has goals to grow and progress
  • Is willing to take risks and step out of their comfort zone in order to grow
  • If they can one day become a mentor themselves


Help Them See Clearly

In some cases a mentor must also help the employee understand what they have the potential to become.  The great Michael Angelo once said,


“In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it.”


Some employees may not seem as skilled or naturally capable, yet they have great potential for growth. Others are good at what they do but are not teachable; it is hard for mentors to work with these individuals. A mentor must have a vision of what each person is capable and willing to become. Understanding employees’ goals and potential will help the manager/mentor to know how to work with each individual and help them reach their full potential.


being a mentor and a manager

Where Do I Spend My Time?

A mentor should look at each employee in their department or company and evaluate them both as workers, and future managers and mentors.  Identifying the employees on a simple scale may help the manager/mentor know how to better allocate their time.  For example, a  simple A, B, C ranking system can help you plan how to work with each individual.

  • An “A” individuals is someone who is your star worker and who is reliable and does quality work.
  • A “B” individuals is doing pretty well, but could use some improvement to get them to a higher working level.
  • A “C” individual is someone who is less effective and needs help to improve their skills and abilities.


Not everyone will be able, or willing, to rise to the level of their mentor.  That is why a mentor must learn what each person is both capable of and willing to do so they can each receive the specific help they need.


Those A employees who are doing great and want to rise through the ranks of the company are the individuals you as a mentor will most likely groom and prepare to take your place. Just because a B or C worker is struggling at this point does not mean they cannot one day take your place, it simply means you will need to work with them more closely than you’re A employees. Those who do not have goals to move up the ranks of the company can be helped to improve in the area they are currently working in. This will help them to improve but will not waste your time as a mentor.


As a mentor, you should make a formal plan to work with each individual.  Create a schedule with objectives and benchmarks to reach for.  Identify specific areas to measure.  Preparing in this way ahead of time will help you work more effectively with the individual employees you supervise.


Why Be A Mentor?

Managers play a vital role as mentors in business.  Mentors help us understand how to better fit in and work together as a team.  Mentors help us understand our potential and where improvement needs to be made.  It is critical that managers realize part of their job is to mentor those they supervise.  When managers become strong mentors they help insure continual progress and improvement within the companies they work for.


Hansen Group Company is committed to helping individual improve themselves and their companies. To learn more about becoming a better mentor visit our website or contact us directly at 208-346-1005.