There is a lot of research material out there and a lot of people with differing viewpoints on the whole leadership landscape. The one thing that is consistent however is the fact that we are in the midst of a leadership talent shortage. When I think back over my career, I do honestly believe that we were in the beginning of that leadership talent shortage even back then. I am probably dating myself but I saw signs of that business challenge 30 years ago. Now it may not have progressed to the stage that it is in now but it was definitely evident then. What I also saw was that there were bosses and managers that were surviving but the presence of leaders and even more so – great leaders was severely lacking. We haven’t managed this very well as it has continued to grow as a problem. We now have organizations struggling to hang on to the high performers in their organization. It is those high performers that could become great leaders and lead the organization into the future. We have countries/nations that are scrambling to develop their youth to lead their country/nation out of the environment that they are currently in. Global leadership is lacking and we need to move forward with developing those skills.

What sets a great leader apart from the rest? From what I have seen it is a number of things but a few that really stand out for me are; effective communicator, trusted relationship builder, humble, always willing to grow and a serving leader – putting others before yourself. They are successful because they help others be successful. They have a deep understanding of who they are, what or who they want to be and a sense of spirituality that they are comfortable with. They are the sort of person that does the self-assessment after a meeting looking at it from the perspective of what went well, what could we have done differently and how can we continue to grow. They create a learning and development environment for themselves and then share that environment with others. Remember that “anytime you influence the thinking, beliefs, or development of another person, you are engaging in leadership.”

In the research that I have been doing recently I have noted that mentoring is viewed as a key component to the success of any leader. It does have a place in any leadership development program but is typically not leveraged to the extent that it needs to be. It has been suggested that new leaders/managers be mentored for the first 6 months in their new role. I am going to suggest that the path to a great leader is a journey one takes with a mentor even beyond the 6 month time frame. Great leaders are those that are constantly learning. I am working with some folks now in leadership roles that our mentoring relationship has surpassed the 5 year time frame and we both continue to grow because of that relationship. With that growth so grows the organization.

Remember that there is no perfect organization. There is always room for improvement. Helping that organization evolve and continue to grow just like its leaders is a role that mentoring can provide value. Mentoring can and does make a difference in people and in organizations. If you want to enhance your leadership capabilities embrace the power of mentoring. Continue to grow as a leader as we truly do need you to lead us into the future!


  1. Great Leaders GROW – Becoming a Leader for Life – Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller
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