Book Review: Mentoring 101 – by John C. Maxwell


International leadership expert John C. Maxwell presents this short, easy-to-read volume which gives the steps needed to effectively reproduce success in someone else. My ten main takeaways out of this book are:

  1. The process of building up people involves more than just encouragement and motivation. Raising people to a higher level and helping them be successful requires more than providing information or skills. If that were not the case, every new employee would go from trainee to success as soon as he understood how to do his job.
  2. Building up people includes modeling. In fact, a leader’s major responsibility in encouraging those around him is modeling leadership, a strong work ethic, responsibility, character, openness, consistency, communication and a belief in people.
  3. Success does not automatically follow knowledge. The process is complicated because you are working with people. The positive effects of developing others are remarkable.
  4. As you prepare to develop other people, take time to get to know each other. Ask them to share their story with you – their journey so far. Find out what makes them tick, their strengths and weaknesses, their temperaments.
  5. When we develop people, we are helping them improve as individuals. We are helping them acquire personal qualities that will benefit them in many areas of life, not just their jobs.
  6. One of the mistakes that some leaders often make is that they try to lead everyone the same way. But not everyone respond to the same kind of leadership. We should try to be consistent with everyone and treat them with kindness and respect. But we should not expect to use the same strategies and methods with everyone. We need to figure out which buttons to push with each individual person on our team. One person will respond well to being challenged; another will want to be nurtured. One will need the game plan drawn up for him; another will be more passionate if she can create the game plan herself. One will require consistent, frequent follow-up; another will want breathing room. So, if we desire to be successful persons, we need to take responsibility for conforming our leadership style to what our people need, not expecting them to adapt to us.
  7. We live in a fast-paced, demanding world, and time is a difficult thing to give. It is a leader’s most valuable commodity. I make it a priority to stay in touch with my direct reports and I schedule one-on-one time for listening, advising and mentoring. I also schedule meetings where team members can share information.
  8. Leadership is as much about building relationships with others and recognizing their qualities and strengths as much as it is about being agile in the face of continuous challenges to eventually show people how to fly on their own.
  9. I have learned that trust is the single most important factor in building personal and professional relationships. Trust implies accountability, predictability and reliability. Trust must be built day by day. It calls for consistency.Successful leaders recognize their errors, learn from them, and work to correct their faults. We may want to impress people with your successes, but if we want to influence them, share our failures. Everybody has failed, so it is a great way to connect.
  10. Professional speaker John Larson once said, “My friends didn’t believe that I could become a successful speaker. So I did something about it. I went out and found me some news friends!” It is sad, but sometimes that is what it takes with both individuals, teams and organizations.

As Douglas M. Lawson said, “We exist temporarily through what we take, but we live forever through what we give.”



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