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How to Be an Effective Mentor

How to Be an Effective Mentor
Image credit: Mickey Burton

Whether your skill set is in style, science or tech, as an entrepreneur, one of the most important assets we can hone is the ability to shape meaningful, personal connections through the mentor-mentee relationship.

The key mentors in my life did not just parent, supervise, coach or teach me. Instead, they did a little bit of all of these things while setting clear boundaries and expectations for my short-term tasks and long-term projects.

This kind of thinking is what we bring to the table daily at my Boston hair studio JEFFREY. I see hundreds of stylists who seek work at the studio. I choose just one or two of the applicants, not only because I want them to be the right fit and most talented, but also to give them my full attention.

For those looking to take on the role of mentor, here are a few tips:

Provide a company vision. Be absolutely clear, precise and realistic about your unique vision for your company -- there can be no ambiguity in this. As mentor you become ambassador to this vision.

Related: Confused About the Mentoring Process? 6 Tips to Help

One way to enforce this vision is to set a predictable, reliable schedule of one-on-one meetings, tailored around achieving individual performance to meet both personal goals and company expectations.

Lead by example. A mentor must every day be living the lessons they wish for those around them to be learning. Your actions are what your team will emulate. If there are dynamics developing that make you unhappy, take an honest, no-compromise look at yourself. If your internal dialogue is whispering, "do as I say, not as I do," you're on the road to ruin.

Push to the limits. Stretch mentees as far as possible without breaking. This is not punishment. This is about confidence building, professional development and personal fulfillment.

Remember, no compromises. Never sugarcoat your message to the team or to any individual on the team. Mentorship is a no-compromise responsibility. Provide constant, meaningful feedback, not just affirmation.

Related: 5 Simple Steps to Be a Super-Confident Leader

Jeffrey Dauksevich is a stylist and owner of JEFFREY Boston. He formerly owned Umi, a salon that topped the world’s charts in hairdressing for 13 years. JEFFREY was recently named among the country’s best hair studios by Details magazine. He recently introduced a new hair product line, Jeffrey.Products.

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