Mentor the Leader: A Transformational Approach

Mentor the Leader: A Transformational Approach

Oluwakemi J. Elufiede (Carnegie Writers, Inc., USA) and Bonnie B. Flynn (National Louis University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1968-3.ch009
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This chapter discusses the importance of mentoring the leader, whether formally or informally, to help successfully prepare one for a leadership role. In particular, the authors suggest using a transformational leadership approach during the mentor-mentee relationship since it has proven to be effective in various working environments. Literature related to various aspects of leadership, mentoring, and generational diversity is reviewed. There are four elements to help successfully mentor a leader: motivation, innovation, integration, and evaluation. All four elements are beneficial to critical thinking skills, personal growth and development, interpersonal skills, and team building. The Mentor-Leader Relationship Scale (MLRS) is introduced as a tool for leaders to reflect on their experiences with their mentor in relation to the four elements.
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The term “leadership” is ambiguous in today’s society because there are many definitions of leadership as it relates to effective leadership skills. According to Bolden (2004), there is no accepted definition, no common consensus on how best to develop leaders, and little evidence on how to impact leadership development as it relates to performance and productivity. Leadership takes place in all aspects of society including non-profit organizations, community groups, and schools. Leaders provide a comprehensive approach to the past, present, and future. Without leaders, the ability to evolve would present challenges for advancement. All members of society serve as a leader in some capacity, and in return it is an asset to social justice.

Furthermore, it is important that leaders be transformational in order to solve problems in today’s challenging world. A transformational leader seeks to transform perilous situations in order to make productive changes that will accommodate the needs of the organization and the people involved. Leaders require more support and assistance because they experience a considerable amount of stress due to growing demands regarding responsibility, reliability, and decision making (Campbell, Baltes, Martin & Meddings, 2007). Leaders can benefit from mentoring support because it helps them grow personally and professionally (Zmorenski, n.d.). Leaders with a mentor can express concerns and challenges to enhance their comfortability with important managerial tasks such as leading a team. Many leaders have confidants that they do not consider mentors, but these informal mentors can provide needed support.

Mentoring relationships start with a conversation that leads to a purpose established by mentors and leaders. Gelling (2013) explains that many people in established careers used support from various mentoring relationships throughout their lifetimes. Collaboration with others can present several advantages and disadvantages, but the ability to master the art of working with others is a skill that takes time. Zackary and Fischler (2009) state that senior leaders can benefit from working with a mentor by improving:

  • Their basic commitment skills,

  • Time management,

  • Focus for responsibilities, and

  • Goal setting.

Mentors and leaders bring out the best in each other. Leaders remove the barriers of power by celebrating the purpose and practice of effective communication because both mentors and leaders want to feel valued for their talents and acknowledged for their success and abilities (Bell & Goldsmith, 2013). There are four elements to mentoring a leader:

  • Motivation,

  • Innovation,

  • Integration, and

  • Evaluation.

All four elements are beneficial to critical thinking skills, personal growth and development, interpersonal skills, and team building.

Chapter Objectives

Readers will:

  • Understand the importance of mentoring the leader in formal and informal environments;

  • Be able to make the connection between the transformation elements and the mentoring stages for leadership growth;

  • Understand the 4 steps for mentoring the leader presented in the chapter (i.e., motivate, innovate, integrate, and evaluate);

  • Understand how to use the Mentor the Leader Scale for reflection, improvement and empowerment.

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