“”It’s lonely at the top”… should never be a phrase uttered by a leader. If the leader is lonely, it is because they have bought into the ladder idea of leadership. Great leaders feel the seriousness of their responsibility, but that weight should never be lonely.
Great leaders need 5 key relationships. This isn’t an exhaustive list, feel free to add or subtract your own.
Great leaders have mentors….
- Mentors have several unique characteristics. Mentors may have domain knowledge or they may domain influence.
- Domain knowledge relates to passing on information about How To.. how to run your business, how to develop software, how to be a better communicator. Mentors who have deep domain knowledge are not limited to business no-how but may be perceived as models for marriage, health, friendships, carreer growth etc.
- Domain influence is the relational currency a leader has within a sphere. Think more in terms of Who than How. The old web startup around the idea of Clout sits in this domain. Influence, clout, networking, connections.
- Mentors don’t need anything from the mentee. Their influence is unidirectional. A good mentor is established and confident in themselves. Their mentees success is their only concern. While there may be some mutuality and eventual genuine friendship between mentor and mentee, the mentor invests IN the mentee with no expectations of mutuality.
- Mentors expect that their knowledge will be followed and their influence will be protected. Mentors who give directive advise are usually tapping in to deep wells of lived and learned experience. If mentees are unwilling or reluctant to follow advice, or are simply looking for encouragement, the mentor may look elsewhere to invest their time and influence.
- Mentors leverage what they offer for the benefit of the mentee. Whether it be exposure, network connections, or opportunities, a mentor is someone who will work to advance the mentee, often accelerating or favoring their growth over peers of similar age or experience.