Ultimately I wanted to give something back. I’ve been in industry for 40+ years and during that time, even in my early career (as a chef – not many people know that!), I had some great mentors who took me under their wing, taught me what they knew and passed on some great skills to me which I still use today.
Fast forward into my second career as a procurement professional, I’ve been really, really fortunate to have had probably 3 or 4 great managers who have been formal/informal mentors. I’ve benefited from their support working through issues or challenges that I was facing in my professional career, whether that was a project or a difficult stakeholder and getting advice on how to navigate that. So I’ve felt the benefit of being mentored. And because I recognise how I benefited as a young professional developing in my early career, when promoted to leadership roles, I took the same approach with my team members.
To be a successful leader you ought to be coaching or mentoring your people and I think you have a moral obligation to do that. That’s always how I have rolled and I enjoy it. It’s great to see the light come on when someone suddenly ‘gets something’, not because you’ve told them the answer but because you’ve challenged them with a question or encouraged them to think about things differently. That’s a great moment.