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How to find and mentor future company leaders

3 min read


Who are the rising stars in your company?

People in upper management must always be on the lookout for talented employees who could become the next generation of leadership for the company. These emerging and aspiring leaders need someone to mentor them and teach them the skills needed to become effective leaders and managers. By taking a role in developing the next generation of leaders, you ensure your company’s future success.

Finding future leaders to mentor

If your company has an established mentorship program, the job of finding emerging leaders to mentor becomes much easier. Get involved in the mentorship program and actively participate by attending events put on by the program. Sign up as a mentor and be prepared to put some time and effort into the mentoring relationship.

Mentoring programs are great, but not all companies have them. That doesn’t mean you can’t find someone to mentor. Here are some tips for finding an aspiring leader to take under your wing.

  1. Look for rising stars. Who do you see who excels at their work? Who stands out because of their results, impact and value? Who do you hear others praising for the great job they’ve done on various projects? These are the rising stars who care enough to do their very best work. Many of them are aspiring leaders who will jump at the chance to be mentored by you.
  2. Ask other executives. Spread the word that you are looking for someone to mentor, and ask for recommendations.
  3. Pay attention to those who promote themselves. Emerging leaders know that they need to be recognized in order to move ahead. They are not braggarts, but they do make sure they get credit for their work so they can use it as a springboard to reach the next level of success.

 Mentoring future leaders

Once you’ve found someone to mentor, there are three areas in which you should focus on helping them improve: perception, visibility, and influence (learn about the PVI Model in the leadership book summary for “Getting Ahead”). Start with perception. Your mentee needs to establish a reputation as the go-to person for his or her area of expertise — not just someone who is good at their job, but the very best.

After perception comes visibility. Help your mentee get noticed by encouraging him or her to create a personal brand, speak up in meetings, volunteer for important assignments, and seek out excuses to talk to senior executives.

Improving perceptions and working on visibility lead naturally into increasing influence, which is the most important quality for emerging leaders to master. Influence is the ability to get people to act without relying on the authority of your position to coerce them. People who have influence have followers — and it’s having followers that make you a true leader.

Joel Garfinkle is one of the top 50 personal leadership coaches in America. His Executive Coaching 11-Step Process has worked with many top international companies, including Cisco Systems, Oracle, Wells Fargo Bank, Deloitte, Amazon, Starbucks, Microsoft, Google, Citibank, and The Ritz-Carlton. Subscribe to his Executive Coaching Newsletter and you’ll receive the free e-book “41 Proven Strategies to Get Promoted Now!”