I was recently asked for advice about a situation…a leader was wrestling over how to mentor a member of his team. His question was this:
“Was I right to give my immediate help…or should I have pushed him to struggle through and learn it himself?”
I replied with “it depends”. Some projects are time sensitive and need urgent attention and progress. Other projects have some flexibility in the schedule for creative learning. There is no consistent approach to mentoring someone on your team.
The truth is, mentoring costs you…no matter which option you pick.
- It costs you to jump in, get it done, and push the project forward
- It costs you to hold back, create tension, and wait for them to learn
But, you (as a mentor) make a difference when you resist the easy approach…and choose what is best for the student (not what is best for you). The hard part is discerning the difference between the two.
Thanks for listening.