Mentor

Mentor

Instead of cursing the dark we have to light a candle; instead of looking down at the gutter at the roadside on a moonless night why not look up and appreciate the stars  in the sky? We should put passion in every undertaking. And instead saying “ It’s cloudy outside but it’s a Sunday,” why not make it as an opportunity and say  “It’s a  great Sunday!” Meaning you’re optimistic that the day  would turn out right   because you are free from your office work—of your responsibility here–   despite the clouds hovering at the horizon. Right?

In short we, all of you (managers, supervisors, section heads) should try to inspire others through your thoughts, words and deeds. First you should think and act as mentors and not mere managers or slave drivers of employees.  A mentor says “we have to do this way,” rather than ordering a subordinate “to do that way.” Make yourself   part of the solution – a member of the team. As a mentor you take every problem as a new challenge. As proactive mentor you have to be ahead of the situation or you have to put up measures to prevent potential problems  to crop up.

To be an effective mentor you have to have the unlimited capacity to understand. How? Review your college psychology, about human nature or behavior, about motivation and aspirations of individuals. Make your subordinates feel that their aspirations and ambitions would be addressed by playing  their roles in the company. Make their individual ambitions and the company’s objective  one. Make them proud to belong to the company since they are being taken care of including their loved ones.

To be a competent mentor every manager should have an open line of communication. You have to remove the partitions and cubicles. Let every worker approach you any time of the day – or night — and help him solve even his personal problem. As a mentor your responsibility does not end after office hours. The communications line should be open 24 hours a day.

Mentoring is like coaching a football or basketball team. A coach is a mentor-leader —not a manager– because he inspires people. Your effectiveness as a coach could be measured on how the athletes play the game and not on the number of games won.

The objective of the manager is to win all the games. As for the coach? His foremost consideration is the welfare of the individual players including their future and direction. Winning is secondary. Winning is not the objective. Winning a game or the championship should be the result of mentoring.

No amount of shouting, cursing or suspension could make a player give a 100-percent contribution to a game if he is not inspired to play. He only gives his best because of the motivations from his coach. An example is Carter of the popular movie Coach Carter. He made men out of the spoiled and undisciplined youngsters. He transformed their lives—and their future. He considered every game lost an opportunity for each of his players to improve and do better. Carter  provided them reasons to live a beautiful and fruitful life.

Another organization where you can find a mentor-leader is the Army. It is not the platoon leader but it’s usually the platoon sergeant who motivates the infantrymen during battles. One factor that inspires the soldiers could be the courage of the sergeant. And he leads in front of his platoon every skirmish.

Because he has the extensive knowledge and experiences acquired from previous battles his men have confidence of his leadership. They know that what the sergeant is doing is   for their welfare and to reduce casualties.  In short extensive knowledge and courage play an important role in motivating people. And you can have more knowledge by attending managerial and motivational workshops on your initiative and on your own time. In short self-improvement.

Another role you should play as leader is that of a facilitator. You should group your subordinates into teams not as work-related groups, like budget, accounting,  or disbursing section .Each team has an objective to accomplish—just like every squad in the army. Each team member has a defined role to play or a specialization.The men in a squad don’t carry the same type of weapon. One carries a bar or a special weapon which is effective for long range shooting. Another carries a machine gun for close combat. Others carry assault  rifles for the final push. Others carry sniper’s rifle with night vision for evening assault, and so forth. And in the absence of the point -man, the next in rank can take over to accomplish the objective of the team since every member’s role is clearly defined.

So you have a logistical team rather than a dispatching section. Each team leader is empowered to make decisions. In case of misunderstanding or conflict in the implementation of an office policy, as manager or supervisor you act as collaborator but not as compromiser. As team member you consider everyone in the group as your  colleague or peer not as your immediate supervisor or your direct subordinate.

Each role should be defined not by the ranking of the position but by specialization or skills. Thus, the secretary  becomes communications specialist and the telephone operator the  solutions provider—  for she gives answers to queries, Right? With these changes each can assert his role in the organization and he could measure his overall contribution. Even the janitor must have a position fitted to his contribution — as sanitation specialist. Try to imagine a single day without a janitor. You will find that the following day everything is in chaos or the office smelly.

In case of conflict, as facilitator you initiate collaborative work, you initiave  comprehensive cooperation from all the members of the team. For an example in the advertising department, you yave to facilitate the production of the best creative idea for a promotional campaign. In this case you don’t have to criticize ideas presented. You have to facilitate the frution of the ideas into a useful concept. As facilitator you have to be highly assertive so it would be faster for a collegial decision to crop up from the team.

Another role you should play as supervisor is that of a monitor. In short you have to record and take note of the progress of each team in your group. You don’t have to record their attendance nor whether they come on time or leave the office earlier. That’s not the point.

As monitor you record as to how far they are from the goal. You have to be goal-oriented. You manage by objective. To be an effective monitor you have to be competent about  information management—the ins and outs of the system.In short you have your own system to grade your members. In the military there is such thing as demerits. For example you wear a complete uniform you would be given 100 merits. Any stain or dirt in the uniform, or improper wearing of a single insignia  the officer would give you the corresponding demerits. In this way your team members know their goal if they could make  you objective and make it  perfectly..

The military for example, has its own counterintelligence group. This way the military plays it safe by moving ahead of its enemies. This means you monitor the contribution of each member of the team and advice them from time to time as the necessary adjustments needed in their activities.

Another function you should do as manager is that of a coordinator. In this situation you act not only as the coach of the team. You act at  the same time   the team captain or  the playing coach. You coordinate the maneuvers on the court as team captain. All the members of the team observe you from a distance as to what signals you are transmitting to them.

As coordinator you know the specialized skill of each member. Like basketball, you know  how the guard or the forwards functions during set plays. You know the capacity  of your center or you know who would be the slotman or pointmaker during crucial time of the game. In short each man has a specialization—just like in your department or section.

In basketball, the team captain sometimes decide   as to when they  need  to rest – and not necessarily the coach–  and transmit this need to the coach or the bench officials for the team to take a rest or take a time out to  change plan of   maneuvers . Compared to our company, as facilitator you must have the hands-on knowledge of the operation of your division or section.You cannot play as team captain if you don’t know the limit of your teammates, right?

To summarize the following table show you the roles and the competencies needed:
ROLES  COMPETENCIES NEEDED

MENTOR     Big understanding; open-mindedness, effective verbal and oral

Communications; ;extensive understanding of human

Motivations; example that of a coach; can  emphatize

FACILITATOR        team-building skills; delegation of authority; assume

Responsibility; will not compromise solution; example

That of a college instructor;example:  basketball team captain

MONITOR                 Proactive and goal-orientation; ability to detect

Weaknesses; extensive analytical ability; example: a high

school teacher; another example is the Army’s demerit system.

COORDINATOR      Proactive; ability to measure capacity and limits; ex: team

captain;  he gets the opinion of the members of the team to

arrive at a good decision; ability to get the attention of

every member of the team; ability to get respect from the team.

Case 1 Shaheen Matombo, staff member
The case of Shaheen is not an isolated one. It is always the problem of single mother who doubles as head of the family. Shaheen is not a hopeless case. In fact Shaheen has offered an alternative schedule of 8:30 a.m. in exchange for a 30-minute lunch break.

As CEO I would suggest to Andre Tate, Shaheen’s manager, to adopt the staff member’s offer of arriving at 8:30 with 30-minute lunch break, with off at 5 p.m., just like everybody in the office. As manager  it is the foremost to maintain manpower, especially that  Shaheen is a product of a computer college. It is the goal of Shaheen’s immediate supervisor to give the newcomer—three months at work—a chance to develop herself in her workplace. In this age of computers,  and flexible time, the offer of Shaheen is laudable.  Morale of her co-workers would not be affected if the change of Shaheen’s schedule would be known by everybody in the office.And  the same flexible time schedule would be offered to anybody who have the same reasons that of Shaheen.

As manager, Andre should also provide a counteroffer. Meaning, Shaheen would follow her suggested schedule religiously.And a single late or failure to follow the schedule may mean she has to revert to the 8 a.m. regular time. During contingency, Shaneen would be given the chance to work online at home, so by the time she will be at the office she would not miss any important call. A system would be installed that calls made at 8 a.m. to the office would be coursed through the home telephone or computer of Shaheen at home.

Another counteroffer would be for Shaheen to observe her suggested schedule but without coffee breaks of 15 minutes in the morning and another coffee break of 15 minutes in the afternoon. In short let Shaheen eat at his work station in exchange for her coming at 8:30 p.m. Since Shaheen is a computer graduate, sooner she would learn the ropes and could be effective in her work. As manager, Andre’s work is to maintain cohesion, morale and develop through training all the employees, not only Shaheen. As manager, Andre’s responsibility is to develop human resources in the company, particularly at this time when it would be hard to hire competent employees who are readily knowledgeable with office work.

One of the  four approaches to effective values (HM 2022, frame 17 of lecture 2) is emphasis on human relations where the goal of the manager is maintaining human relations.

Shaheen stay in the office can be considered probationary for it  takes  from three to six months before an employee becomes regular. Assuming Shaheen is already a regular staffer, the more that she should be retained and given the chance to improve herself.  In this case, Andre may assign a veteran worker or her supervisor as her office mentor. Shaneen needs the guidance of a facilitator and coordinator who understands her first and second willing to help her until she may be six months in office. In this way, if she would not improve, Andre have the reason to look for her replacement or put her in a job that does not require her to be at 8 a.m.. Of she may be given flexible time schedule to suit her work at home.

The manager should understand the situation of Shaneen from the poiont of view of a parent. The manager should try to wear the shoes of Shaheen to undertanding extensively the situation Shaheen is in.

As mentor, Andre should inspire Shaheen to work better and improve in her work. Andre should have the capacity and the patience to work with a worker like Shaneen For sooner, Shaheen may improve for she has the potential to be an effective worker.