Why Leaders Need Mentors Too

You're stronger when you don't try to lead on your own
Why Leaders Need Mentors Too

I see you. You're there—you're always there—working hard and getting it done. First to arrive and last to leave, carrying the weight of the world, speaking wisdom that sustains the weary. I see you there, gathering the pieces of broken hearts and delicately, patiently piecing them back together. Sharing creative ideas with your team, leading with the kind of wisdom that will shape your department, and ultimately, people's lives. You lead the way.

Maybe you're the counselor who listens to countless stories every day.

The pastor who invests hours of preparation for the weekend ahead.

The teacher who guides and trains young minds in the classroom.

The entrepreneur with the exciting new startup.

The mom in the neighborhood whom everyone turns to for advice.

The community leader who serves, not because she believes in endless committee meetings, but because she believes in making a difference as soon as she walks out of her door.

I'm not sure where we'd be without you—without your insights, your gifts, your passion, and your leadership. Perhaps that's why this question won't leave me alone: Who mentors you? I wonder, when you're so busy investing your energy in everything and everyone else, if there's room enough for someone to invest in you. Do you have a mentor?

The value of a mentor

The word mentor emerged from Homer's epic poem The Odyssey. Mentor was a friend of Odysseus, King of Ithaca. When the king went to war, Mentor became a friend and advisor to the king's son Telemachus. Mentors today continue in that role. They're experienced practitioners, sharing their skills and insights with those who want to learn from them. They mentor through teaching and training, but also through modeling what they know and through sharing their experience in practical ways.

These mentors instruct and guide; sometimes they're like a cheerleader, while at other times they are like tough love to the extreme.

Mentors fill our bookstore shelves, magazine racks, and blogs. They present our TV shows, teaching us how to dress, cook, lose weight, start a new business, sell our home, or raise a family. These mentors instruct and guide; sometimes they're like a cheerleader, while at other times they are like tough love to the extreme. Their skills bring out the best in those they work with, equipping them to reach goals they couldn't have reached alone. When a leader like you has such great opportunity to influence others, aligning with a mentor is more than just a good idea—it's a crucial part of your leadership development.

Jo Saxton

Jo Saxton is a TCW advisor, a director in 3DM, and the author of More than Enchanting. Jo and her husband Chris have two amazing daughters. Follow her on Twitter at @josaxton.

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Mentoring; Purpose; Reflection; Relationships; Risk-Taking; Role models; Support
Today's Christian Woman, July Week 4, 2014
Posted July 23, 2014

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