4 important lessons from great mentors

by | Oct 15, 2012

In a blog for the Harvard Business Review, Deborah Mills-Scofield writes about four important lessons she learnt from several different mentors she was fortunate enough to work with throughout her career.

1. Let your people go

Nuture and support great talent when you find it. Do what’s right for them and the company, rather than what’s right for you personally. Give them an opportunity to shine. Be willing to take risks for the right person.

A former boss allowed Deborah to work from home and allowed her to design her own job. This employer also guided her through the minefield of office politics. She was requested to work on a project with the president’s support team. On completion of the project, she had the options of continuing with the new project, or returning to her previous role. She decided to return to her previous role, thanks to her manager’s addictive leadership qualities.

2. Light the fire and clear the path

Guide your team’s passion and get out of the way. You’ll reap the benefits of autonomy and freedom handed to employees.

Deborah’s next boss believed in autonomy, developing his team focusing on customers. While she had her first child, she was able to work from home and was still able to make a great contribution to the business.

3. Remember they’re human

Deborah’s managers let her know who she was mattered as well as what she could do. Not only did they grant her generous maternity leave provisions and flexible work-from-home arrangements, but they insisted she take two weeks of annual leave each year to fully unwind and recharge her batteries.

4. Trust beats everything

From trust, everything else flows: learning, credibility, accountability and a sense of purpose and the bigger picture.

You can read the article in full here.

Jeffrey Tobias

About Jeffrey Tobias

Dr Tobias is an accomplished innovation consultant and entrepreneurship strategist, drawing expertise from the academic, entrepreneurial and corporate worlds. Jeffrey’s commercial and business experience is particularly focussed on lean startup, design thinking and leadership. Prior to The Strategy Group, Jeffrey was Cisco’s Global Lead for Innovation in the Internet Business Solutions Group helping Fortune Global 500 companies improve customer experience and grow revenue by transforming how they do business.
Jeffrey is a professor of innovation and entrepreneurship teaching MBA students at the Australian Graduate School of Business at the University of New South Wales. An active angel investor, Jeffrey is on the board of various well-known startups.

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Managing Director, The Strategy Group

Dr Tobias is an accomplished innovation consultant and entrepreneurship strategist, drawing expertise from the academic, entrepreneurial and corporate worlds. Jeffrey’s commercial and business experience is particularly focussed on lean startup, design thinking and leadership. Prior to The Strategy Group, Jeffrey was Cisco’s Global Lead for Innovation in the Internet Business Solutions Group helping Fortune Global 500 companies improve customer experience and grow revenue by transforming how they do business.
Jeffrey is a professor of innovation and entrepreneurship teaching MBA students at the Australian Graduate School of Business at the University of New South Wales. An active angel investor, Jeffrey is on the board of various well known startups. Jeffrey’s corporate background includes leading global innovation strategy at Cisco, working with large corporates such as Adobe, Westpac, Telstra, Woolworths, and Perpetual.

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