Empowering true leadership by true mentorship

Trip Start Dec 01, 2005
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Trip End Dec 12, 2005


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Flag of India  ,
Thursday, February 2, 2006

Empower true leadership by true mentorship

In following I would like to describe one of my experience on the base of which I finally understood the way how the Indian culture perceive teamwork and made think about ways how to "empower true leadership by true mentoring."

It has happened last Tuesday when Lady gave me new task: "Design new business called Meeting management within 6Ps and 5Rs model." I was maximally happy because I really like this kind of things and I already had some experiences with developing similar presentation from my previous team.

Immediately I set up my mind on high speed level and put all my energy to produce not only the best, but the excellent result. I took care even about the beautification side, downloading nice pictures and create new powerful presentation's background. Basically I took the task as I am the FLCL who is starting new business, which has to think complexly and took care about everything what is connected with the term "Meeting management."

After 3 hours of work, I felt great, I started to feel ownership to the presentation as to "my baby," which will bring positive result and give me back later everything I invest into it. At the same I time I realize the responsibility which accelerated me to hard work and skip usual coffee break, because I started to love "my baby," my product and motivated me to sacrifice everything for "my baby".

After 3.5 hours, my core-worker asked me for advice about 6Ps and 5Rs. I was exactly in the period of creation of 6Ps and 5Rs for "my business," so I could immediately answer his question,.... Hmmm, but why does he ask it? I was thinking he is working on something different. "What are u working on?" I asked him.
"Oh, Lady asked me for some inputs for 6Ps and 5Rs for Meeting management business." He answered.
"What? You are working on Meeting management business?" I asked patiently, but my inside was so shocked, so surprised..... why??? Fortunately, after 6 months of being here in India I developed better self-discipline, so tried to be calm.
"Yes."
"But why? I thought I am working on this task. Why does Lady act like this? I still couldn't understand. I looked on my co-worker's PC screen which is only 4 steps far form mine one and I could see presentation about Meeting management in progress. Och, I was so much hurt, I felt like "my baby" was stolen. I felt that Lady didn't believe that I am able to perform the task that is why she asked somebody else to do also it. She simply doesn't have trust on me. I was very disappointed.
"I think she wants from both of us inputs, so later she will take out the best ideas from both of us and create synergy in the new presentation which she will deliver to Big boss. That's the teamwork." he explained me.
"Whaaaaaaaaaaat?" my silent "what" was pronounced only in my heart, which was paining very much. So, basically, I am only the supplier of the ideas to somebody who will take it, sign by her\his name and will take whole recognition and award for the work. And, what I will have? Nothing. "My baby" is not mine any more, so why should I continue to invest to it so much when maybe my co-worker's presentation will be better, so everything what I will produce will be for nothing. This is not teamwork, but individualist enhancing competition which is killing teamworking.
I tried to explain it to my co-worker that this is not teamwork but individualism and I cant work like this. My tear was running down my face and I didn't want to work on that presentation any more. I didn't feel any responsibility, any ownership, nothing.
"No, Beata, you want to be individualistic, you want to work on it alone." he told me.
"No, it is not like that. Of course, I need you. I need Lady's coordination and showing me the direction. I need the feedback and suggestions from my co-worker, but I need have particular task which is only mine, I need to have feeling of responsibility and ownership, otherwise I don't have any to work for. Who will recognize my work? Nobody. What I will say after my internship - what did I achieved? What I will show as result of my work? There is nowhere my name. So, tell me what I should work for???? For nothing?"
In spite I tried to explain in my best way, I saw in his eyes, that he doesn't understand. He is happy with this "system of team working." But I am crying, so what? Is it about the culture or about working style or about the individual attitude to work? Why I am not simply happy like he is? Who is wrong and who is right?

At the end, he told me that he will not continue to work on Meeting management and it will be only mine responsibility, Lady told me that now I am FLCL for this business. I was so much happy and started to work on it even more than before. I sent the presentation to Big boss signed by name with Lady's name as my mentor.

Next day Big boss was satisfied with the result of the work and recognized both, mine and Lady's effort.

From whole this exercise I highlight the power of trust and believe in somebody which is fundamental point for growing leaders through true mentorship.

If Lady didn't give me full trust and responsibility
If Lady didn't lead me through feedback
If Lady didn't mentor me and didn't help me
If my co-worker didn't want to make me happy in and didn't leave the task

.......... I would never fulfill the task with so high motivation and results.

I am persuaded that this is the best way how to empower leadership not only because of this experience, but because I have already been in the position of mentor who was growing leaders in one unique organization called AIESEC and only thanks to this previous experience I could understand and analyzed the situation from last Tuesday in this way.

Being a mentor means to be willing sacrifice own ego, share the recognition and results. There is no mechanism how to create an artificial system for mentorship because it requires strong character, experiences and ability to built relationships of trust and believe. Maybe u asked me "what is there in for a mentor, why should mentors do this job?" There is nothing else, only the love and thank you from those who they have been leaded on their journey of life. And if "YOU," potential mentor, doesn't understand, doesn't want, after unfortunately u don't understand to the life and you will never experience the incredible warm feeling of joy and happiness in your heart when you will see your children leading global economy and you will never feel that you are one of that people who will contribute to the society through the acting of your children for many years in the future.

Beata Dvorska
Intern from Slovakia in India
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