You can read blogs (like this one) until you’re blue in the face, but know this: the single best way to become a better leader is to watch a great leader in action. Whether your company has 10 people or 10,000 people, strong leaders will stand out. Identify a leader that matches with your own leadership style or personality and invite them to coffee to propose a mentorship relationship to them.
When setting up these meetings, avoid vague phrasing such as “I’d like to pick your brain.” Explain exactly what you hope to benefit from the relationship, and set expectations for the mentor so they know exactly what to expect. For example, perhaps you schedule a standing 20-minute coffee break, where you stroll out of the office and tackle one question or topic at a time. This makes the ask much more manageable for your mentor, and also gives you a framework for guiding actionable conversations.
Some topics to address with your management mentor:
- What do you wish you knew when you first became a manager that you know now?
- What is your advice for giving tough feedback?
- How should I celebrate wins within my team?
- What’s the best way to motivate the range of personality types on my team?
- How can I better collect feedback on my management style from the team?
- How can I lead by example when it comes to work/life balance?