Mentoring the Family Business Leaders of Tomorrow

Few things in life are more satisfying than knowing you have helped another person become a better version of themself. It speaks to the importance and richness of both mentoring and being mentored. It’s a teacher-learner relationship, but it is important to note that we must all be learning at all times.

Mentoring is using the wisdom of one’s experience, both successes and failures (especially failures), to guide those who are on their journey. Sometimes you have official mentors with whom you schedule time. Sometimes all you have to do is listen and ask. Each person has a set of different experiences, and all of them are learning opportunities.

In fact, mentoring is a spectrum of opportunities. Family business mentors present themselves in different ways business mentors such as the board of directors, philosophic and spiritual mentors, financial mentors, diversity mentors and accidental mentors.

Mentors do not just happen inside the organisation in one’ s development towards being the family business leader of tomorrow. Externally , away from the family business and from a distance, a style of industry leadership may be studied, noting what is done well. From these external organisations, styles and practices can be learnt and carried forward with the up and coming family business leader. Practice is especially a good exercise.

So what exactly makes a good mentor? It depends on what one such future family business leader is seeking. Mentors are thoughtful and caring, not in a hurry or unfocused. They bring out the best in the family business leader of tomorrow. That is what great mentors do. They make us think and question what we stand for and what our purpose is. It’s a journey to get there, but a highly rewarding journey.

How about the learner’s role in all this ? Good mentees take the initiative to set up meetings or calls. The family business leader of tomorrow listens well and reverts back to the mentor what they have learned or how they have applied that learning, hopefully with a positive outcome. It is also important to share failures and frustrations. In a mentor-mentee relationship, confidentiality is of the utmost importance. While the mentor may seem to be the “giver,” it is important that the mentee give as well, whether through gratitude, learning or offering the mentor something of value.

Being a mentor involves intentionality , an attitude to encourage in the mentee as well, as the mentee will give a hand up to those that come next. Mentoring can be one of the most rewarding opportunities in one’s life, whether it’s within a family, in a family business or in nearly any other role. Like it or not, we all serve as mentors for our children and NextGens. It’s important that we do it well.

Worth noting is that in collaboration with Malta Enterprise a variety of initiatives exist that can help family businesses here in Malta. One such initiative is the Skills Development Scheme which shall support training and knowledge transfer initiatives that will support employees to acquire new skills, knowhow and knowledge. Through the supported training it is envisaged that assisted undertakings will upgrade skills of employees, address skills shortages, facilitate re-skilling, tackle skill mismatches and work towards developing a knowledge-based workforce.

( All factual and statistical information presented in this blog has been obtained from an extract of an article from the harvardbusinessreview.com ) Follow us on our Facebook page and Family Business Office website at www.familybusiness.org.mt

At the Family Business Office we can offer you assistance in dealing with family business succession planning issues through incentives supporting advisory and mediation services. Contact us today on [email protected].