One of the finer points to balance with people in business is when to mentor someone and when to use authority. Your leadership style is partly determined by how you approach these two things.
Everybody has some degree of authority despite getting it mixed up in hierarchy sometimes. Often times humor can be used when your role within the organization is subordinate to another. But humor is not always appropriate.
Mentoring somebody almost always is. No matter what your title or position within a company you can always mentor people. Your mentorship does not have to be work-related. You are free to connect with someone on a personal level too.
This happens all the time in fact. You have plenty of friends of work, some with more seniority than you and some with less. When you establish a personal connection your balance of power becomes more neutral. Not completely neutral, but significantly more than when no personal connection exists.
Mentoring someone can be as simple and subtle as showing the person you care. This could involve listening to him share a problem or a situation. It could involve asking questions, or even being of service to the person within the work environment or beyond.
There are plenty of opportunities to mentor people at work. You only need to be in tune with them. However you are able to mentor someone, find ways to do it and do it with enthusiasm. It’s healthy for you and your environment and it breeds generosity in your workplace.
About the Author
Ryan Gerardi is a one of the original members of BVN, contributing at the organizational level including strategic planning, marketing, coaching, and more. Ryan is the technology czar for BVN and works with members on solving business problems with technology, marketing, and communications. He presently resides in Ann Arbor, Michigan with his amazing wife and two sons. Connect with Ryan on LinkedIn.