Teach Me to Fish – The importance of mentoring in the growth of your business

by Ashley Russo

You came up with a great idea. You built your business. You hired the right team. Now what? You build them up. Every. Single. Day.

Hire for Attitude:
Hire people who work hard, are passionate about the field, and are genuinely interested, personable and kind. Find the characteristics you cannot teach and then focus on teaching the skills needed to do the job.  Of course, do not ignore the technical skills required, but do not overlook someone awesome because they haven’t learned one particular computer program yet. Helping someone grow into their potential is an extremely rewarding experience that motivates an entire team!


Offer Training:
Onboarding, a new team member, is vitally important to the success they find in your organization. Taking the time to train each person in his or her respective roles properly can take a lot of time, but you get back what you put in. Invest up front by making yourself available for questions and feedback. Schedule meetings for the one week, one month, three month and six-month marks. Be open to suggestions and make improvements where needed.  Consider online courses and training options to help your team improve their skills. This will also let them know you value them and support their professional endeavors.


Manage Up:
Encourage team members to support one another. Set reasonable expectations that allow everyone to understand their job as well as the responsibilities they have to the team at large. Set up regular team meetings that create accountability. Start meetings with positive feedback and give each person the chance to share a victory they had recently. Build from there, review challenges as a group, and problem solve together. Then trust them to get the job done!


Give Feedback:
Running a business can often be challenging and requires everyone to be on the same path. It also requires a certain amount of risk-taking and experimentation. Sometimes new ideas work and sometimes they don’t. Do not be afraid to honestly address concerns, issues, and mistakes as they happen. Focus on what is working first and then move into what needs to change and why. Explain the bigger picture and help create the vision for all team members to follow and help support. Empower them to help advance the mission of the company and grow as people in the process.


Walk the Talk:
Be willing to set the example. Your team will look to you to set the tone of the company. The way you conduct yourself both inside and outside of the office will be the primary example of how your team should behave. If you make a mistake, admit it openly and explain how you rectified it. Allow them to see your weaknesses and how you are also growing and learning from them. Be an example of a humble lifelong learner who strives to be better every day.


Get Involved:
Motivate everyone on your staff to get involved in the community. It’s amazing what can happen when you give back. Volunteering allows people to use their strengths to “do good” outside of the workplace. This builds confidence and boosts morale across the team.  It also fosters networking opportunities, hones professional skills, and allows a deeper understanding of the world around us.


Have Fun:
Take the time to get out of the office and do something fun together! Plan a group activity that encourages teamwork, laughter, and relaxation. Enjoy the environment around you and take a break from the intensity of a normal workday. Give your team a say in the plans and allow them to take the lead and plan the day. This builds important career skills and provides a positive feeling for everyone!


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