Milestone Blog

Three Reasons Why Mentoring Someone Isn’t “All About Them”

Posted by Milestone Leadership on Feb 21, 2019 11:00:12 AM


If you were to find yourself feeling a bit reflective about your career and paused to consider what had the greatest impact on your successes along the way, it’s likely some key people would come to mind. The relationships you had with these individuals may have varied in formality, but you could likely describe very specific ways they affected your development professionally, personally or both. These people were your mentors, regardless of whether it was intentional and formalized or not; their influence helped bring you clarity, inspiration, confidence and knowledge.

As you envision these people, did you ever stop to consider that their acts of providing guidance actually helped them grow along with you? Here are three ways you can improve your own leadership capacity by actively giving the benefit of your experience to someone else:

  1. Serving as an effective mentor means you’re making a commitment to offer honest feedback and constructive criticism. Providing this in a way that actually builds a mentee’s capacity requires diplomacy and a solid understanding of what the mentee truly needs—which comes only through observation and active listening. Leaders aren’t necessarily born with this skill set, but making a conscious effort to really support another person’s growth by taking the time to learn about them and offer meaningful guidance can have the added benefit of honing the mentor’s own listening and communication skills. The self-awareness that results from understanding the impact of your words on another person is valuable in literally every relationship you have, personally and professionally.
  2. Necessary components of any mentor-mentee relationship are honesty and trust. These elements are also absolutely critical to high performing teams—and must be continuously cultivated and nurtured by leaders. Not everyone arrives at a point of open honesty and a place of trust in the same way or at the same time, but serving as a mentor can help leaders who struggle with this by allowing them to let down some of their barriers to expose their own vulnerabilities. Many of the best life and work lessons are learned through mistakes and missteps, and when you can share your own fallibilities with honesty and humility, you inspire the kind of trust that allows others to feel they can be authentic with you.
  3. Offering guidance to another person based upon your own experience requires self-reflection. Leaders frequently find themselves pressing ever-forward without pausing to think subjectively about their own personal and career paths—where they went right or how they could have done things better for themselves or for others. As a mentor, imparting what you’ve learned through your own experiences allows you the opportunity to revisit your own past, an important step to securing a better future. Sharing your path with another person can actually reveal things you might not have otherwise considered about yourself, and offer you the chance to improve or even altogether change your future course.

At Milestone Leadership, we believe leaders worth following understand the impact of sharing their own past experiences with transparency and intention. By revealing ourselves to others, we come to understand our own behaviors and contributions in ways that help us to be stronger future leaders.


Kelly Hale Syer
Milestone Leadership


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Topics: Talent, Professional Development, Growth, Candor, Transferable Skills, Leadership, Honesty, Authenticity, Candidness, Advice, Empowerment, Reflection, Career Building, Values, Feedback, Company Culture, Success, Experience, Workplace, Milestone, Truth, Story telling, High Performance, Purpose, Mentorship, High Performing Teams, Transparency, Role Models, Criticism, Mentors, Learning, Relationships, Values & Ethics, Employee Development, Personal Development, Creating Culture, Leader Worth Following, Communication, Affirmation, Service

Top 5 Blog Posts of 2016

Posted by Soderquist Leadership on Dec 29, 2016 3:22:00 PM

It's that time of year again! As 2016 comes to a close and we gear up for a new year, we wanted to take a look back and share with you our top blog posts from this past year.

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Topics: Leadership, Company Culture, Employee Development, Personal Development

Is Your Team Overdependent On You?

Posted by Soderquist Leadership on Jul 12, 2016 12:00:00 PM


I've been reading Michael Bungay Stanier and his perspectives on coaching and leadership. He mentions three viscious workplace cycles: overdependence, getting overwhelmed and becoming disconnected. The first one was particularly interesting to me.  

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Topics: Employee Development, Creating Culture

Diverse Just Like Me

Posted by Soderquist Leadership on May 4, 2016 3:00:00 PM


Have you ever heard a senior executive say that they were looking for diversity in their organization as long as it looks, sounds and thinks like them?  Well, you’ve likely not heard them verbalize such a claim, but actions speak louder than words.  The ethnic, racial, and gender aspects of this have been decried - and rightfully so.  

What has received less attention is the oft lack of diversity in thought and style.  Just as destructive, but perhaps less observable on the surface.

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Topics: Leadership, Employee Development, Creating Culture

KC Royals: Building a Winning Team

Posted by Soderquist Leadership on Apr 12, 2016 3:30:00 PM

Spring is in the air, which means one thing. Baseball season is upon us. In the interview below, Kansas City Royals Owner, David Glass, discusses the killer combination of patience and strategy associated with building winning teams. These principles are applicable to both sports and business.

David Glass and his General Manager had the vision to believe the long-term commitment associated with turning the KC Royals Organization around would be worth the investment. Turns out they were right. 

Watch the full interview below. 

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Topics: Leadership, Employee Development

The Importance of Building Bench Strength in Your Organization

Posted by Soderquist Leadership on Mar 22, 2016 3:02:03 PM

In this video, Don Soderquist, retired COO of Walmart, talks about how leaders often fail to establish bench strength by not preparing new leaders as the organization grows.

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Topics: Leadership, Don Soderquist, Employee Development

Team Building Exercises: Foster Laughter & Trust

Posted by Soderquist Leadership on Mar 11, 2016 9:00:00 AM

"The shortest distance between two brains is laughter." -Daniel Goleman

Connectivity through shared experience is often lost in the tasks required to make strides toward the bottom line. Gallup research shows positive connectivity with co-workers in the workplace creates a higher sense of well-being and productivity.

Eighty percent of fortune 500 company employees say they like where they work because it is a fun place to work. Why not foster well-being through short, fun, team building activities at the beginning of meetings and or training? Below is an activity to help you get started.

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Topics: Practical Tips & Tricks, Employee Development

The Secret to Winning Your Follower's Commitment

Posted by Soderquist Leadership on Jul 21, 2015 7:30:00 AM

Keep your promises.

I would suggest it is that simple.

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Topics: Leadership, Relationships, Values & Ethics, Practical Tips & Tricks, Employee Development

What's Your Job As A Leader?

Posted by Soderquist Leadership on Jul 7, 2015 4:40:00 PM



Watch as Steve Reinemund, retired CEO of Pepsico, talks about the importance of leadership development within the Pepsico culture, and how leaders should be developing other leaders.

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Topics: Leadership, Powerful Influencers, Employee Development

The Importance of Building Bench Strength in Your Organization

Posted by Soderquist Leadership on Jul 2, 2015 3:54:00 PM


In this video, Don Soderquist, retired COO of Walmart, talks about how leaders often fail to establish bench strength by not preparing new leaders as the organization grows.

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Topics: Leadership, Don Soderquist, Powerful Influencers, Employee Development