My Mentoring in the Marketplace post, prompted several online comments which caused me to first address the questions and expectations that mentors should have of mentees. Today, we are talking about what mentors get out of mentoring. I have already shared that the purpose of mentoring is not to control or manipulate others.
The professional perspective:
Chapter 5 of Sheryl Sandberg’s national bestseller, Lean In, is titled, “Are You My Mentor?” Sheryl begins by discussing the dread of having a stranger ask her to be their mentor. Then she quickly transitions to the necessity of having mentors and sponsors if professional advancement is desired. In her words:
“They need to find mentors (people who will advise them) as well as sponsors (people who will use their influence to advocate for them) (pg 65).”
I love this choice of language. As Christians, we have the truth and we should share that truth with others, and that does not mean that we beat them across the head with the Bible. The truth that we have does speak to their purpose in the world, it does speak to how they prioritize and make life choices, and it does speak profoundly about how we should treat other people. Her definition of a sponsor also has deep implications for us as Christians. We should always be willing to stand in the gap and advocate on behalf of others. Of course, we need to advocate with integrity which means that we must prayerfully consider the character of the person whom we choose to sponsor. We do this with the understanding that our God is good, gracious, generous, and he owns everything. That means we should not be threatened by others who are in the work place; we should not operate out of a space of fear that there are not enough opportunities to go around. Additionally, if it is within our power, we should be willing to open doors and create opportunities if necessary for those who need it.
I started reading Sheryl Sandberg’s National Best seller, Lean In, a couple months ago but I had to put it down. I didn’t put it down because it was boring. I put it down because it was meaty and great and I didn’t want to rush my way through this one. I wanted to sit down with this book and wrestle with its contents for a while and I wanted to do that without distraction. That’s exactly what I intend to do next month. In the meantime, I have followed Carolyn Custis James’ chapter-by-chapter online book discussion. I encourage you to check it out at http://www.whitbyforum.com/. I have been waiting to post a book review from a Christian Worldview and thankfully my fellow Regular Contributor, Julie Pierce, at Christianity Today’s Gifted for Leadership blog has done just that. Her words for us:
Why I picked up this book:
I read Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In for several reasons: 1) I had seen Sheryl’s TED Talk on why there are so few women leading and resonated with her message and style. 2) As the COO of Facebook, Sheryl consistently makes the “lists.” You know, like the Forbes and TIME “most powerful” and “most influential” lists they create each year. 3) There still aren’t a lot of leadership books written by women at this level of leadership telling not only personal stories but also leadership lessons.
Who should read Lean In:
Every leader should read this book. Men leaders should read this book for the leadership advice (it crosses gender lines) and the glimpse of what life is like for women leaders around them. Women leaders should read Lean In because Sheryl is a voice influencing change on our behalf.
What’s in store for you:
Lean In provides extensive research, experienced recommendations, and examples from real-life. Sheryl Sandberg’s writing style is like a well-educated, well-traveled cousin (not quite as intimate as an older sister). The book presents one challenge after another, so don’t expect a tell-all memoir you can put on your bookshelf and ignore when you’re done. Expect to wrestle.