Try This- Mentors, Advisors, Professionals

Shawnee Love   •   February 14, 2020

Today is Valentine’s Day, a day to cherish Love and the important relationships in your life. Thus, we thought it was a fitting day (and way) to wrap up our blog series on things to embrace in 2020 with a blog on the relationships a people leader needs to cherish.

Although your people (the ones who directly or indirectly report to you) should also be cherished, that is not where I am going with this blog. Rather, I want to highlight those important relationships necessary to being a good leader.  Whether you call them your mentors, advisors, or personal friends, they are the people who provide their advice and opinions willingly while:

  • Calling you on your stuff,
  • Pointing out your blind spots and weaknesses, and
  • Offering an opportunity to vent, brainstorm, soundboard, analyze, evaluate, extrapolate, and simulate.

They can be a moral compass, a gut check, an opinion (maybe not 100% objective because they are hearing your side of the story but certainly more objective than you), a devil’s advocate, a fount of knowledge on topics outside your realm or experience, and a safe harbour in a storm.

We’ve said many times, that it is lonely at the top.  It’s lonely not because you are alone, but because there are few you can share your ideas or worries with or with whom you can work through a problem or opportunity.

Having good relationships with people you can trust to tell you the truth from their perspective and who will still respect and admire you even after they realize the crazy things you have done or were about to do will make a world of difference in your life and your leadership.

Consider calling them together every 6 months for a check in/ tune up or at the very least remember to ask for their perspective when you are:

  • About to embark on a new strategy,
  • Considering a major change,
  • Frustrated or upset with how things are going or have gone.

Their timely involvement could mean the difference between good and great and at the very least help prevent big mistakes.  Clearly you have to choose those people carefully and ensure they aren’t all exactly like you, i.e., look for people from different industries or professions. But if you choose wisely in 2020, I predict, you will be glad you did.