Mentor or Monster?

Mentor or Monster?

The business environment has been plagued by a continued need for innovation, transformation and change. This no doubt creates an enormous amount of pressure on organisations, requiring them to balance organisational health measured through morale and organisational wealth, measured through talented people and profits. Recent articles indicate a dire need for organisations to take stock and to create sustainable businesses in order to embrace a global economy

To remain relevant and competitive in this fast paced world, we need leaders who transcend organisations and understand how to harness the strength and energy of its people. However, of late, I have had numerous complaints from people about their leaders and managers and the degree to which they are reinforcing a culture of toxicity. It seems that there are a vast number of firms that pay lip service to their values. Values cannot create change for as long as they sit up on a plaque against the wall. Values must be given life by exhibiting behaviours that are concurrent with the behaviours professed to exist within the leadership of the organisation.

When the adopted values (what we believe we are) and performed values (what we actually do) are out of balance, this translates into cynicism, negativity, disillusionment and disengagement. When an organisation’s adopted values and performed values are aligned, the benefits result in cohesion, team integration, positivity and high performance cultures.

Managers play a fundamental part in the creation and shaping of culture. It is a manager and the way in which he/she treats people who either allows him/her to earn their trust or fear their wrath. Respect unites people, fear divides people. I don’t always think that managers understand the degree of power levelled against them in the role that they play. At any given point in time, they have the power to shape or shatter, build or break, raise or ruin the dreams of another person. Managers don’t always appreciate the trust placed in them, and the example that they set.

How are you are executing your role as a manager, which one are you, the mentor or the monster?

A Mentor A Monster
Listens with intent to shape and raise the aspirations of others Listens with intent to diminish and break others
Sets direction so that the roadmap is clear Has no idea on where the organisation is going, misleads and criticises organisational efforts.
Creates a climate of trust and respect Creates a climate of heightened anxiety and stress, rules through fear
Understands that life does not revolve around his/her feelings Is ego driven and winning is everything
Is accessible and approachable making the time to engage people Is power-hungry and people are summoned to accentuate this authority.
Is non-judgmental and provides constructive feedback for growth and renewed purpose Ridicules and embarrasses others, whether in person or in front of colleagues
Is confident within himself/herself Is arrogant and unable to lead himself/herself
Propels, motivates and inspires others to be “more” Does not believe anyone can be better than them

Symptoms that the monster is on the loose

Environments that are managed by “monsters” normally culminate in the following:-

    • High degrees of role ambiguity
    • Excessively high rates of absenteeism
    • Unresolved conflict
    • A toxic environment where fairness and freedom is compromised
    • Fear, anxiety and high levels of stress
    • Selective exclusion
    • Qlickment – management by cliques, if you are not in the clique, you are not in the game.

You were not placed in a management position for self-gain. You were entrusted to make a difference in the life of another, to lead and encourage others, to provide hope in the future and teach people to find their way, to shape their lives, to live a life they can be proud of and to set and reach new limits every day. The world is complex enough and people have more than enough on their personal plates then to put up with egos and monsters in the workplace. We are not going to live forever so what’s the point in preserving our egos. What we should be striving towards is the desire to pave the way for others, to make their paths easier, to teach them what we learnt so they don’t make the same mistakes, to catch them before they fall, to encourage them to live in harmony with others so that we can preserve a good foundation for generations to follow. These are the ways in which we influence the people we manage. Every day, they learn from us, whether good or bad.

Choose to be bold enough to move others ahead of you, strong enough to be their pillar, brave enough to let them leave you behind, wise enough to show them the way and humble enough to accept that life is a journey of continuous learning.

Until our next connect session. Keep on learning!

Nimee Dhuloo