Here are some additional questions a leader can use to help a mentee evaluate themselves or a problem they are having.
What can you control is another great question leaders can ask their mentees. The best part about this question is that it shifts the focus away from what is out of the control of the mentee clearing the mind to think about what one could actually do about the situation.
What solutions have you come up with is a good question because when struggling, stagnating is the worst thing someone can do. Knowing that your mentee has at least some ideas and won’t be relying strictly on their leader for ideas and answers.
While strictly not a question, tell me more, is a request that can help bring to the surface biases or blind spots that might be stopping up the mentee or additional details the leader can use to help the mentee.
Finally, one might ask, what are you reading? Asking about hobbies, interests, reading habits and similar questions help a leader to get to know their mentee on a personal level. This can give the leader a more complete view of the mentee.
Leaders and mentors should not feel obligated to use all these questions all the time when mentoring team members. Like much else they are a toolbox and one should always select the correct tool for the job.
One of the most interesting aspects of leadership is that all people bring something unique to the table. Many articles on leadership will talk about qualities like integrity, effective communication or influence, while these are all good qualities, maybe even all necessary qualities of a leader, they don’t mean much if a leader doesn’t put their people ahead of themselves.
In the early days of being in a leadership position many will think that their title is all they need. That with the title will come automatic respect and and inclination to follow whomever bears the title. Many “young” leaders must learn is that leadership is something one must work hard at.
Sometimes “young” leaders will have a peer come to them and confront them about their selfish attitude, but not always. Not only is it a leader’s job to support their people through constructive criticism, feedback and support, but the leader needs to be self-critical and realize that their own attitudes and practices do affect the team.
When leader is doing well their success should be visible in the success of those they lead. The leader should acknowledge these accomplishments in both private and public. The leader should know their teammates, not just their name, position and responsibilities—but the real person outside their responsibility to the team. Leaders must leave their own ego at the door; your teammates are going to accomplish things you cannot and that is OK. Having a peer be able to move on to another opportunity, in part because of the leader’s mentorship should be viewed as a leader’s greatest accomplishment. Give your teammates an environment in which they can become the best possible version of themselves.
In doing these things all members of the team will be viewed as successful when success comes and when it does not, the environment to move on and try again will have already been fostered.