All good mentoring relationships begin with a personal relationship. As your people get to know and like you, their desire to follow your direction and learn from you will increase. If they don’t like you, they will not want to learn from you, and the equipping process slows down or even stops.
To build relationships, begin by listening to people’s life stories, their journeys so far. Your genuine interest in them will mean a lot to them. It will also help you to know their personal strengths and weaknesses. Ask them about their goals and what motivates them. Find out what kind of temperaments they have. You certainly don’t want to equip and develop a person whose greatest love is numbers and financial statements for a position where he would be spending 80 percent of his time dealing with disgruntled customers.
One of the best ways to get to know people is to see them outside of the business world. People are usually on their guard at work. They try to be what others want them to be. By getting to know them in other settings, you can get to know who they really are. Try to learn as much as you can about the people and do your best to win their hearts. If you first find their hearts, they’ll be glad to give you their hands.
[taken from Developing the Leaders Around You: How to Help Others to Reach Their Full Potential (1995) by John C. Maxwell. Published by Thomas Nelson]
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