Developing leadership qualities in others is, most assuredly, the way to ensure success in and the perpetuation of our educational charism. Leadership development can only occur in a positive, safe environment where potential leaders feel comfortable in being and expressing themselves, i.e. in an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust. The key to any successful mentoring program is, first and foremost, the quality of the mentoring relationship.
Robert Wicks, in his text, Sharing Wisdom: The Practical Art of Giving and Receiving Mentoring, notes that mentoring is basically “sharing our wisdom and seeking out the insights of others within the framework of ongoing relationships...” A similar sentiment is echoed by John Maxwell in his book, Developing The Leaders Around You, when he concludes that “all good mentoring relationships begin with a personal relationship. As … people get to know and like you, their desire to follow your direction and learn from you will increase.”
In a similar vein, mentors also have the responsibility of modeling the leadership qualities they desire their mentees to adopt. As the adage goes, “You must practice what you preach.” Wicks contends that mentors are primarily chosen because of one important quality: respect. He further states that those “offering mentorship are able to foster self-exploration and self-appreciation by the way they treat those who come to them for a listening ear and guidance.” It is crucial to remember that a leader cannot demand of or instill in others what he or she does not demand of or practice him/her self.
Therefore, it is the responsibility of the mentors in the charism to foster such a positive and nurturing environment for his/her mentee if that is the type of leader the mentor wishes to form. As Maxwell concludes, a leader “can impress potential leaders from a distance, but only from up close can he impact them.”
Through this directed reading, the participant will:
- gain a better understanding of the importance of creating a climate for leadership development;
- gain a better appreciation of the importance of modeling the right type of leadership;
- identify the key ingredients to developing a healthy and wholesome mentoring relationship.