Cultural Aptitude. Collaboration. Communication.
These three things are NECESSARY as a leader and a mentor. A mentor is a someone who has trusted information about a specific subject or field--usually through experience--that allows them to pass this information on to someone who is looking to excel in the respective field or in life in general. Mentors are not only important but necessary in order to effectively gain wisdom about the world and trusted advice going forward. Not only do these things allow these people to correctly assess, advocate, and direct their followers or mentees, but these attributes require interaction and effective listening between parties to best evaluate what is necessary.
One article talked about the effectiveness of negative feedback and how the difference between cultures can make all the difference in how one communicates what needs to be done. In this article, I was wholeheartedly surprised that the negative feedback from different countries could be so different and that understanding these cultural differences that may arise in the workplace or organization is crucially important so your message is executed efficiently. Yet, negative feedback differences is only a very specific basis for a more overarching idea that holistic cultural aptitude is necessary as a leader or mentor (as well as a follower or mentee). One of the reasons this can be a challenge in an organization is that certain voices, certain special occasions, and certain customs may be overlook and even disrespected by mere accident. Though there is originally no intention on being disrespectful, it is necessary to understand the possible impact that you may have. Therefore, as leaders & mentors, it is necessary for us to give advice and tasks that are not only culturally appropriate but also culturally considerate. Thus, this will allow you to give feedback professionally as well as respect those in the office effectively as well.
One of the biggest problems with leaders today is that they rarely understand or care about collaboration. A lot of leaders are so worried about their own agenda and their own interests of their respective organizations that they tend not to understand that other organizations with similar or even diametrically different goals can possibly collaborate with them. Per the article, it is necessary for collaborative leaders to be self-aware and outwardly aware. This means that they must understand what their specific organization stands for and believes in while also understanding other organizations as well. Furthermore, in order for someone to even want to understand about other organizations, the leader must be open-minded and open to feedback as well.
Of the three topics, this one truly upholds the last two--whether it be communicating to collaborate with other leaders or to understand different cultural differences that may arise. Specifically in the mentorship/mentee role, communication is critical to ensure that both parties are duly working. Communication first starts with how to find mentors. First, you should always ask questions to understand what type of mentor you would need in terms of mentoring. This requires introspection on what you want for the future as well as what you want for yourself right now. This can be done easily by understanding the attributes that you would like to hold and see if there are people in your life who you think do things exceptionally well. A mentorship relationship should be one of mutual understanding of goals as well as a holistic understanding of what each person wants out of it. One thing that is necessary for the mentor in particular is for them to be open to know that the mentee is of an educational but also communicative nature; therefore, the fact that these individuals might not understand something that seems very innate to the mentor should not come across as a problem but as an opportunity of improvement.
It is evident that understanding what it means to be an effective leader and a mentor (as well as a follower or mentee). A lot of times these things actually interact by the basis that these two individuals are responsible for more than just themselves. Therefore, communication, cultural aptitude, and collaboration is important for both.
Meyer, E. (2015). Giving Negative Feedback Across Cultures [Web Article]. Retrieved from https://knowledge.insead.edu/blog/insead-blog/giving-negative-feedback-across-cultures-4259
Petersen, D. (2013). Carole Robin: Feedback is a Gift [Web Article]. Retrieved from https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/insights/carole-robin-feedback-gift
University of Washington (2019). Mentoring Guides for Students [Web Page]. Retrieved from http://grad.uw.edu/for-students-and-post-docs/core-programs/mentoring/mentoring-guides-for-students/
Vora, T. (2014). Indispensable Traits of a Collaborative Leader: Part 3 [Web Article]. Retrieved from http://qaspire.com/2014/05/11/indispensable-traits-of-a-collaborative-leader-part-3