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Jay Rogers on the Power of Career-Changing Mentorship

The business mentor and millionaire-maker says CEOs must stop focusing on being irreplaceable and start concentrating on the future.
|Image courtesy of Jay Rodgers

Promise I make to all my employees is this: If you can find a better job than I can give you, I’ll help you get it. This may or may not be a popular strategy among many of my CEO friends, but I promise you that it’s a powerful way to run a business. I often come across executives who, while wildly successful in their own right, have forgotten that they didn’t get to where they are solely on their merits. They started at a lower rung and got help from one or several mentors.

Those mentors shared their knowledge, inspired their proteges, and added value during a time when they were established and comfortable in their careers. You are the boss and have more experience and knowledge than your employees. Rather than hide what you’ve learned, help someone else grow and reach the heights you’ve achieved. Learning how to be a mentor is the culmination of leadership as a professional. Passing along your wide breadth of experience and talents to the next generation of leaders will help build a more successful company. Offering your priceless, high-level guidance and assistance is not just good business practice, but it will also pay dividends for your company’s bottom line. Here are four ways to do just that:

  1. Stop trying to be irreplaceable.

Every ambitious executive wants to secure their position in an ever-evolving organization. While admirable, being irreplaceable translates to not being promotable in the eyes of those above you. It’s OK to be hard to replace, but business leaders should look for—and mentor—qualified successors.

2. Focus on the strongest 20 percent.

Many companies mistakenly spend 80 percent of their training efforts supporting their weakest employees. To grow a company, focus your time and effort on the top 20 percent of your employees.

3. Let mentees make decisions.

It’s tempting to do things for your mentee, thinking that this is the best way for them to grow. But, you should strike a balance between advice, direction, and the occasional safety net and giving them control of the journey. Let them make decisions and think on their feet. This helps them grow into their future role.

4. Utilize your resources.

Biz Owners Ed is a 10-week, 40-hour program offering insightful knowledge from the most successful individuals in their fields who have taken their respective organizations to unbelievable heights. By attending, you can be a better mentor to your employees. By sending employees, they learn from other mentors. If you’re going to get advice, get it from someone who has not only done it but also knocked it out of the park.

Jay D. Rodgers, founder of more than 20 companies, is the author of Entrepreneurial Reflections.