Womentorship – What an Inspiration!
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Despite the snow storm and all the shoveling that comes with it, this past week was an energizing one to say the least. I was blessed with the opportunity to speak to two different groups of people from the construction industry. Our first session was on “Womentorship – Women Mentoring Women” and the second one was on “Disengaged Employees in Today’s Culture.”
I presented to a small group of brilliant women and we basically threw my presentation out the window and did what I would call a bear pit session. We used some of the topics on a few slides to guide our conversations but for the most part it was an open forum. I came away as I usually do from sessions such as this with a number of things. Let me share those with you! The aspect of disengagement in the work force is an issue at all levels of organizations today. Women want to be mentored but can’t find the right mentor. They want to grow personally and professionally. Their leadership style is one that is very much transformational – they are not saddled with the philosophies of the “old boys club” which is very aggressive, unattached and direct. They are more concerned than their male counterparts with family related issues especially when it comes to making a career decision. They put others ahead of themselves sometimes giving up that career promotion. Mentoring helps them believe in themselves – they need to have that internal confidence!
We talked quite a bit about the Socratic style of teaching and I provided them with some examples of how to move from the directing approach (old boy’s club style) to one that is more engaging by asking a series of questions. We examined the characteristics of our future leaders of tomorrow as it related to young women professionals and agreed that the transformational style of leadership was the way to go.
We shared the concern that our future leaders are greatly influenced by what they see from our current leaders. I termed that as “learned behavior”. If we emulate certain behaviors that are not the most desirable it does influence those that work with us. If those behaviors are not altered then one assumes that they must be acceptable. That is the albatross that a lot of organizations will have to deal with as more and more of our future leaders assume those leadership roles in your organization.
Needless to say we had a great conversation that spanned close to 90 minutes and was brought to an end as they had to move on to the next event. My sense was that we could have spent a lot longer in learning from each other!
The enthusiasm that they shared made it quite evident that they believed in the “power of mentoring” and the value that it could bring to their organization and more importantly to themselves. We do need to work with our young female professionals to help prepare them for the leadership challenges that lie ahead. We need to make sure that we prepare them to have a seat and a voice at the board table – as they will certainly occupy a lot of those seats in the future! All of this is possible through the “power of mentoring!”