Dave Lavinsky of Growthink Teaches Entrepreneurs How to Become Mentors

Share Article

Dave Lavinsky, co-founder and President of leading entrepreneurial consulting firm, Growthink Inc., gives his insights about how entrepreneurs can become better mentors to their employees.

Dave Lavinsky, co-founder and President of Growthink

When running a business, some entrepreneurs don't know how to act. Some think they get the best results when they are feared. Others want to be loved, but are concerned with being seen and/or becoming a pushover.

In either case, including variations of each, entrepreneurs who run companies must mentor their employees in order to get them to excel.

Typically, when people think of mentoring, two things come to mind: someone outside of the company showing an employee the ropes, or some kind of apprenticeship program.

However, according to Growthink’s Dave Lavinsky, an entrepreneur can and should be a mentor and friend to their own employees and team, and not just a boss.

“My favorite definition of mentoring was created by Bozeman and Feeney, who defined it as ‘a process for the informal transmission of knowledge, social capital, and the psychosocial support perceived by the recipient as relevant to work, career, or professional development...

...Mentoring entails informal communication, usually face-to-face and during a sustained period of time, between a person who is perceived to have greater relevant knowledge, wisdom, or experience (the mentor) and a person who is perceived to have less (the protégé)’,” said Lavinsky, who at Growthink has helped over 500,000 entrepreneurs start and grow successful businesses.

How To Mentor Team Members

According to Lavinsky, “a leader who is also a mentor that cares about their protégés and teammates, and approaches work from the eyes of a servant, not a commander. They know that educating and improving the skills of individual team members will help them and their company be happier, more productive, and more successful.”

“Mentoring also adds a degree of friendship and affection to the workplace. This makes work a lot more pleasant for all employees, and also makes for a work environment that is more conducive to learning, admitting mistakes, and personal growth,” said Lavinsky.

To mentor someone, Lavinsky believes an entrepreneur should invest time with an employee one-on-one in order to:

1) Teach them their job position's skills.

2) Assess what they need to improve and measure their growth.

3) Infuse leadership in them, so they are more empowered to solve problems and figure things out on their own without waiting for answers.

Why The Need For Mentoring?

According to Lavinsky, mentoring has been shown to have a positive effect on one's career. “One study by Gerard Roche (1979) found that mentored employees were more satisfied with their work and careers than their non-mentored counterparts,” he said.

“It has also been found that mentoring facilitates the socialization of new hires into the organization, reduces turnover, minimizes mid-career adjustments, and enhances the transfer of the entrepreneur or business owner's vision, knowledge, and values. These are the exact things you want - better, happier, more skilled employees who are committed to the vision of your company! This is why mentoring is such a high-leverage practice to include in your leadership activities.”

Who Should Be Mentored?

The traditional wisdom is to invest the most support and training into the best and brightest employees, according to Lavinsky. “But Delong & Vijayaraghavan (2003) reported that it's a wiser move to support the large middle-base (your team's B-players).”

The quote that Lavinsky is referring to is as follows:

“Like all prize-winning supporting actors, B-players bring depth and stability to the companies they work for, slowly but surely improving both corporate performance and organizational resilience... They will never garner the most revenue or the biggest clients, but they also will be less likely to embarrass the company or flunk out... these players inevitably end up being the backbone of the organization.”

Whilst this does make sense to Lavinsky, he prefers to invest more in the hiring process so that only "A" players are brought it. “Then, you can mentor your ‘A’ players and turn them into ‘A+’ players that allow you to dominate your market,” Lavinsky says.

Lavinsky believes that a leader of a business is more than just the boss, the visionary, the founder, and CEO.

“You also play the role of coach and mentor for your team. Because you cannot mentor everyone in your company, particularly as it grows, choose 5 or so employees that you can comfortably mentor. And then have them mentor 5 employees beneath them,” he said.

“At times in your business, you'll have to be a player yourself in order to score points, win the game, and get results. But over time, you'll see your time allocation changing to include less time spent ‘playing’, and more time spent coaching and mentoring your players to perform under your direction.”

About Growthink

Growthink provides business planning services and training products to help entrepreneurs start, grow, and successfully exit their businesses. To learn more about Growthink's Leadership Blueprint course, visit http://www.growthink.com/products/leadership-blueprint. To learn more about Growthink's business plan services, visit http://www.growthink.com/businessplan. Growthink also offers a best-selling business plan template, available at http://www.growthink.com/products/business-plan-template.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Raquel A. Castillo
Visit website