How To Be A Mentor In The Age Of Telecommuting

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How To Be A Mentor In The Age Of Telecommuting

by | May 12, 2020

COVID-19 may have forced remote work on a lot of businesses but that doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. While some may see telecommuting as the only way to keep their business up and running, it’s also a great opportunity to train your employees and truly be a mentor. 
Training someone to handle everyday business is one thing. Training someone to handle business during a global pandemic and uncertain economic times is another. Traditional training focuses on what management thinks is important, protocols, and the company mission. These skills are certainly essential to the success of the business. But during this crisis, there’s an opportunity for growth and perhaps once-in-a-lifetime learning opportunities for future business leaders. 

By learning how to lead teams and solve problems in a situation like this, mentors can show the next generation how to work together to overcome even the most pressing challenges. If you’re looking to make the most out of the new normal, here are some ways to be a strong mentor and show the leaders of tomorrow how to handle a crisis. 

Emphasize the importance of communication. 
Communication involves not only speaking but listening, being patient, sharing relevant experiences, and working with those who are up-and-coming in the industry. Imagine being new to the company and not being in the office to see how senior team members approach the job and handle the challenges it brings. 

When the office is telecommuting, the best way to share these experiences is to let younger team members be a part of important phone calls and mobile team meetings. Allow them in on phone calls and Zoom meetings to observe and listen to the way you communicate with the rest of the team.

Show, don’t tell. 
To be a smart mentor, you have to move away from being the only decision-maker. Sometimes, this means stepping back and allowing your young office mates to throw around ideas and make mistakes. 

You should never protect your team from failure. The truth is, failure is inevitable. Everyone is going to experience it at some time or another during their career. The important thing is to show your team how they can learn from their mistakes and make a better decision next time. Show them how to trust themselves and know that they can make good decisions, even in a crisis. Take a step back and listen to their ideas. Allow them to propose solutions to problems before explaining your plan and how you arrived at it. 

Be supportive.
Being supportive is what being a leader is all about. By encouraging the next generation and giving them the support they need to learn and grow, you’re helping them gain confidence and grow into their abilities. This helps create the leaders of tomorrow. 

Don’t give them answers or tell them what to do. Talk with them about their own ideas and encourage them to come up with new and interesting ways to face the current challenges the business is facing. 

At the same time, you must get across the point that they don’t have to have all the answers. After all, that’s what the team is for. No business has weathered a storm like the one we’re currently in on the shoulders of one person. It really does take a village. 

Overall, teach your young team members what it takes to get through the difficult times. Maybe even thrive. Hopefully, this experience is not something they’ll have to cope with again, but they will undoubtedly face different challenges over the years. Show them how important a team is by letting them know how much you value them as a part of yours.


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