Passing the Baton: Three Steps to Developing Your Mentee Into A Mentor

I have always been a huge proponent of term limits, long before all of the current political discussion. My time in the military taught me the finest examples of how the mentee becomes the mentor. After a certain amount of time, you either had to move up or out. Job rotation commenced every two to three years to avoid burnout and allow others the opportunity to serve. It showed me that leadership is a relay, and we need each other at different times, in different legs, and in different lanes.

Make Room for New Stars - A true leader should be most concerned with the upward mobility of their team. And if they don’t have the team players that are capable of increased responsibility, then they have the wrong team members.

Seed, Feed and Nurture - A true leader also knows that leadership is a trust to be administered and shared. Leadership is the meaning of life.  When we empower others to reach our level, and even surpass us, we are not only solidifying our legacy, but creating our future. Leaders have to take the time to ensure their employees grow as much as their business.

Embrace Their Success – Even if it means they join another team. I have met some leaders who fret that if they pour into their underlings, those team members take what they’ve learned and leave the organization. The real question is, what happens if you don’t and they stay? You can call it delegation, relegation, or ordination; the truth is leadership shared is one of the greatest forces on earth, second only to love.

Running a relay requires consistent trust, respect and a mutual desire to see everyone thrive and make the most of themselves. Passing the baton shows commitment to learning, high regard for development, and the courage to step aside and let your mentee take the spotlight. So make sure you build growth opportunities into the fabric of your team with clear milestones so your mentees know when it’s their time to grab the baton and run like the wind.

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