After re-listening to Susan Colantuono’s TED talk, “The Career Advice You Probably Didn’t Get,” we were reminded how important it is to have a knowledgeable mentor. In her address, she mentions that there are three areas in which mid-level managers need to excel in order to advance into higher leadership roles. And, due to historical gender differences that have a continued need to be addressed, women aren’t being mentored properly in one of those areas.

In other words, many talented leaders aren’t getting the right information in order to advance their careers. Think about how this impacts the entire business organization. How much more could get done with a deeper, stronger leadership pool to draw from? It’s time to close the communication gap, provide a better mentoring experience, and become better mentors ourselves.

A Mentor facilitates the learning process on all levels

According to Ms. Colantuono, most mid-level managers are being mentored to have personal greatness and to be able to engage greatness in others. What’s not being communicated is “understanding where the organization is going, what its strategy is, what financial targets it has in place, and understanding your role in moving the organization forward.” In her experience, most high level management thought this was a given – but only a very small percentage of women ever heard this verbalized.

We rely on mentors to share with us this sort of information to help us learn, grow and advance in our own careers. Great mentors, then, are the ones that can not only share with us the deepest insights, but also the simplest facts. Facts that, while so obvious once known, tend to be forgotten or glossed over.

They give invaluable industry insights

Having a master mentor, then, helps you to progress through the corporate world while bettering yourself. They help you achieve greatness at work and at home. They show you how to bring out the best in others, progressing your organization forward and upward. And they help you understand your role in your business, in addition to the strategies in place to reach the organization’s goals.

In other words, having a master mentor is the difference between progressing or being passed.

Leave a lasting legacy: be a mentor yourself

In her address, Ms. Colantuono told a story about an executive who mentored two people – to one he taught the business and the other he helped build confidence. He didn’t realize he was treating them any differently. How, then, can that sort of self-perpetuating cycle be broken? Easy: by having more master mentors. We need strong men and women, who know how to mentor others, to take the initiative.

We need master mentors to identify and train more leaders and mentors so that our organizations and team members continue to grow stronger, be more capable, and be more strategically aligned. Once we’ve been mentored, it’s time for us to become the mentors.

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