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Pay it Forward: Why Leaders Love Mentoring Emerging Leaders

Meeting between men

April 21, 2017

By: Terri Breining

Being a leader doesn’t mean being in charge; it means helping others become the best and most successful versions of themselves. Throughout history, leaders have gone out of their way to take protégés under their wings. Walter Cronkite was mentored by his high school journalism teacher. Warren Buffett taught Bill Gates. Yves St. Laurent spent years learning from Christian Dior.

The San Diego State University Hospitality & Tourism (HTM) Master’s Program is an arena for emerging and established leaders alike. As a mentor to students in the program, I can tell you that the HTM Master’s value extends far past your own leadership skills. You will find that once you develop your leadership philosophies that speak to you, sharing those philosophies with emerging leaders is every bit as satisfying as pursuing your own goals. Why?

Mentoring is a Responsibility That Doesn’t Feel Like One

Passing knowledge and experience on to someone can bring immense fulfillment and joy into your life. Oftentimes, we get so caught up in our daily responsibilities that we forget to connect with others. No matter how busy you might be, you can always stand to take a short break. You will never find yourself dreading a cup of coffee with someone who wants to learn from you. Plus, focusing on someone else gives you a mini-vacation from your own projects, emails, phone calls, and worries.

It’s Like a Front Row Seat to Someone Else’s Development

Whether you’re mentoring an early-career leader or one who’s transitioning from management to senior management, watching them take their career to the next level is a truly amazing experience. Realize that it’s a privilege to be a part of someone else’s journey, much less have an influence in that journey.

You Learn What You Teach

One of the things I’ve always loved about mentoring is that I hear what I’m saying, which gives me an honest moment to evaluate whether I’m taking my own advice. It’s always easier to tell someone else what they should do than to “practice what you preach.” You will be surprised at how many “aha moments” come from conversing with a fellow leader.

There’s a Business Value for the Mentor, Too

Aside from the above benefits, mentors also gain a clear business value from passing the torch. Mentoring revolves around building the perfectly balanced personal and business relationship. When you help to position someone else for success, they feel a natural desire to involve you in their triumphs. In cases where you’re mentoring someone who works for you, the mentee’s increases in confidence, knowledge, and skill directly correlate to an increase in their contributions to your business’ success.

Be a Mentee, Become a Mentor

What makes the HTM Master’s Program so special is that it not only develops leaders through curriculum-based learning, it also matches them with a mentor. Jeff Campbell wrote a fantastic article on mentorship titled, “Why You Need a Mentor and How to Find the Right One for You,” giving first-hand insight into the value and process of finding a mentor.

Do you have a desire to become the next great leader and mentor? The HTM Master’s Program can help you take your career, and then someone else’s, to new heights. Learn more about the program here.

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