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BW Businessworld

Helping People Grow

Most authors talk about the role of management and people resources. However very few touch upon the nuances of the mentor’s role in an organisation

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One of the Boss versus leader jokes trending on social media in the recent past shows a caricature of ‘Boss’ using the employee as a golf stick about to tee off and a caricature of ‘Leader’ watering a sapling/ employee. Perhaps it seems like a slight exaggeration. However, it wouldn’t be wrong in assuming this is more close to reality now than before. A boss, typically bosses around, only delegates and hogs the limelight, whereas a leader nurtures, lets the employee make mistakes and makes the company a great place to work.

A mentor’s role is a combination of a good manager and a great leader, no matter what designation he holds. Today mentoring has become crucial to all organsiations and is an important activity of a manager, which can make or break the workforce. The right approach of the manager towards his subordinates can instil a feeling of responsibility and improvement in the performance of the subordinate. Conversely, the manager can become the person driving away even the most capable subordinate from the organisation by their demotivating stand. To be a successful manager, people skills,specifically the skill towards developing and mentoring people working under one, play a vital role. The approach, strategies and techniques for people developing and mentoring form the crux of the Harish Shivdasani’s book The Manager Who Became The Influencer’. Shivdasani, former faculty of IIM Ahmedabad, is also associated with grooming business leaders, CEOs, senior management and high potential senior executives, helping them achieve greater leadership success, fulfil their life goals, and create an unique identity in the society.

The author offers lessons from his vast experience as a mentor and talks about the methods to be a successful mentor. The book is divided into two parts. The first part talks about the foundation of successful mentoring and developing trust among the people who are being mentored. Any change, no matter how small, sees resistance. He writes, the acceptance of change can be achieved only if the people who undergo the change and trust the people who cause the change. A manager whose motive is clearly genuine is more trustworthy and likely to be able to successfully mentor his subordinates than a manager who just directs or dictates his subordinates to accept change. The approach makes all the difference. So, developing trust in the mentor-mentee relationship is of utmost importance for the development of the mentee and thereby the improvement of the organisation. The author has also summarised the do’s and don’ts of mentoring, a ready-reckoner to practical mentoring.

The second part of the book emphasises on the practical approach to be taken for inspiring and mentoring for their optimum performance and to evoke the desired response. He has also touched upon the sensitive topics of rewarding and punishments, two parts of the same coin without which no education is possible but incorrect usage of which can spoil all the hard work put in.

Most authors talk about the role of management and people resources. However very few touch upon the nuances of the mentor’s role in an organisation. Each small step taken to groom an employee reflects in the long-term success of the organisation. The book is especially crucial to new managers and to any person who wants to have a positive impact on the people in their team.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Aparna Tadimety

The author is a freelance contributor

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