When leadership is the recipe and mentorship is the icing on the cake by Karime Salomon

Automatic Summary

When Leadership is the Recipe and Mentorship is the Icing on the Cake

Strategic leadership and mentorship can hugely impact not only professional environments, but also individual growth. Their significance has evolved over time, switching from the traditional notion of bosses to leaders who inspire, motivate, and expedite effective communication and transparency.

In this blog, we delve deeper into the realm of leadership and mentorship, their distinct impact, and their role in present times.

Shifting Paradigms: The Evolution of Leadership

Leadership is no longer about having an authoritative figure instructing you how to get things accomplished. The concept of leadership has evolved considerably, and it continues to change. The modern workplace demands leaders who can inspire, provide technical and leadership guidance, and maintain absolute transparency.

Learning from Struggles: A Personal Tale

Every experience teaches us lessons, and my story is no different. During my early years in technology, I faced challenges that shaped my leadership perspective tremendously. Despite working extra hours and giving in my best, there were times when others took credit for my hard work, leaving me feeling disparaged and overloaded.

However, every cloud has a silver lining. A subsequent opportunity in my career allowed me to work with a great leader who recognized my effort, acknowledged my work publicly, and genuinely cared for me. This experience inspired me to become a leader who prioritizes people first and emphasizes transparency.

The Blossoming of Mentorship

In a leadership role, complementing it with mentorship can further help to cultivate stronger relationships, induce a sense of personal fulfillment, promote continuous learning, and enhance one's coaching skills.

Mentorship, however, isn't always an inherent component in leadership. Therefore, it becomes crucial to highlight its significance and integrate it into leadership strategies.

Unraveling the GROW Model

The GROW (Goal, Reality, Option, Way forward) Model provides a constructive framework for coaching. It involves identifying the conversation's goal, understanding the current reality, exploring potential options, and determining a way forward to tackle any obstacles or challenges effectively. This intuitive model often forms the backbone of many a leadership style, constructing a genuinely supportive environment for those being led.

Wrapping Up: The Balancing Act of Leadership & Mentorship

In essence, effective leadership coupled with abundant mentorship is a potent mix for any professional growth recipe. While strong leadership helps create a conducive professional environment, mentorship adds personal values of trust, guidance, and camaraderie.

The blog illustrates the continuous transformation of leadership roles and the importance of mentorship in this changing landscape. Taken together, they can indeed be a game-changer, creating a holistic, multi-dimensional, and fruitful professional environment.

Don't hesitate to connect for further insights on leadership and mentorship, as well as the wider aspects of software quality assurance, automation, and remote teams. Your growth is a tweet or a LinkedIn message away!

Video Transcription

I think we can start. Thank you very much, everybody to be here. I see we had some people here. So I'm gonna start with the presentation so that we're not taking more time of the expected. So, OK, so let's start.Um I'm gonna talk today about uh when leadership is the recipe and mentorship is the icing on the cake. I'm gonna start first with a little uh presentation about myself. Uh My name is Karima Salomon. I am from Bolivia and uh I started working on technology more than 10 years ago. I started first as a software developer. Then I moved to uh quality assurance. And uh after that, I um I started working with automation also in software quality assurance. And then I moved to a leadership position, a tech lead position first and then I moved to a management position. So leadership is my, my passion. I love to read about leadership and to try to use a lot of strategics with my teams. And this is something that I really, I really love. OK. So let's start with the presentation. Uh So, uh whenever we're talking about leadership, um now, in these days we are not expecting to have bosses anymore, right? We are trying to actually have more people that is going to be um it's going to be more open for us. Oh, give me one second. Ok. Sorry, I, I received a message in the uh in the platform. OK.

So, so uh whenever we're talking about leadership right now, we are not thinking about bosses anymore. Right now, leadership is changing and it's still changing. And basically, um we are trying to have, for example, whenever we're looking for an option or an opportunity in a company, what we're trying to see is which kind of leaders do we have there because that's gonna be fundamental for our professional growth, right? So mainly when I say no voices anymore is because we are not expecting to have somebody that is going to tell you what to do on, on, on how to do the things. But in the other side, we're looking for leaders that mainly can inspire us, can motivate us because if they are giving us some like great examples and the things that we can follow, you know, we'll be happy to follow that leader. Also, we are expecting to have some guidance, like it could be a technical guidance and could be in a leadership position, guidance, right? But that's something that we are expecting from a leader right now. And of course, as part of that is the effective communication and transparency at all.

Because I remember in the past in, in many different conferences that I attend, many people is talking about how leadership used to be before that, you know, we had some like different levels and the people doesn't know why they are doing something. But now we are trying to have everything more transparent for the rest of the people so that everybody knows why they are doing something. But of course, in some cases, uh life is not a bed of roses. So I'm going to tell you a brief story about how I started with my career on leadership. So whenever I started working on a quality assurance or working on technology, I learned a lot of huge lessons from the past. Right? Unfortunately, I, at the beginning, I, I get got some leaders that was not what I was expecting. Whenever I started working, I had this like a vision of the things that I can get. Uh when I was just starting, I was thinking that my leaders are going to give me a lot of support and guide me. You know, I had that idea. But unfortunately, what I got is that I feel at some point, I feel disparaged. I remember I was working so hard and I was trying to do more than, than the people was asking me to do. I was like uh working, I remember I was working weekends.

I was trying to uh give my extra mile all the time and I was trying to be more involved in the business and understanding everything that I was doing. And then uh somebody else was taking the credit over the things that I was doing. And oh my God, that, that was frustrated for me. I was feeling really overloaded in the job that I was doing. I was taking a lot of things but nobody was there trying to say, hey, you're taking too much, right? And I was working as I said, extra hours and yeah, I was exhausted, right? Because I was working so hard. I was not having anybody like holding me there. And then I, I got frustrated because I assumed that because of uh everybody was saying that I was doing a great job. I was doing like a good report and the things that I was presenting. So I assumed that maybe this is going to give me something in return. So, uh when I remember after one year, right? Whenever you had your performance evaluation, everybody say, oh, you're doing great, your job is amazing. Everything that you're doing, it's awesome. But um I couldn't get any promotion. I couldn't get any raises because they say I was too new and I still need to show that I was actually doing a real good job, you know, and didn't realize that it was not clear for me.

For example, when I say ambiguity here is because the people that was maybe given as minimal as possible was taking exactly the same of the people that was given more and I didn't know why they just say, oh, those are the rules of the company. Right. So I was really, really frustrated by that time and I was even thinking if I really want to keep going with my career because I was frustrated for it. But luckily nothing lasts forever. Right. So, um, after some time of this situation that I just tell you, I had a great opportunity to work with a great leader and with a great manager. And uh I remember these guys were uh trusting a lot on me and a lot in my job, even if I was new, they were giving me the opportunity to take some decisions over some specific technologies that I was working on or that I was investigating. I remember whenever I create this detailed reports and the things that I was doing, they were actually saying my name, you know, recognition in front of the rest of the people was something that start giving me something like something good for my career. I was feeling happy when they were talking about my job with my name, right? Nobody else was using the credit over the things that I was doing.

Other thing is that they were more open, they understand the uh which kind of things I I need, they were more flexible and they were really supportive for me. So they understand me as a person, as an individual and these kind of things were making me feel really good, right? I really wanted to give even more that I was given they were, for example, if they so that I was working too extra hours, they go and say, hey, let's have this conversation, let's see what's going on, why you're doing this, right? They were not just asking me for more without nothing around, but they were just trying to take care of me and make me realize that I need to take care of myself too. So at that moment is when I discover what I want to be. So I decided that I want to be a leader. Um but I want to be a leader in the same way that, that these people was um showing me how to lead. So after some time I have or I got the opportunity to be a leader and I decided that for anybody that is coming to my teams, uh I'm gonna think always in people first. OK?

So for me, people, it's important uh because we need to think in a person about the problems about the, the the weakness that they have about what uh what dreams they have, which kind of things they um motivate this person, right? So people, it's really important for me. Then the other point that as I told you before was also important was transparency because uh whenever you're clear with your people about what's your expectations, what's your goals and what's the reason on something that you're asking if they understand everything that you're telling to them, they will try to help you to reach to that goal.

They are not blind and just doing something because you're telling them to do it, but they understand the reason. So that's why communication and effective communication and maybe over communication, it's also really important for this. It's like a must for any leader. Uh For example, use um all the communication channels that we had. But something that I, I use a lot and I think it's really important to mention. It's the one on one sessions. Uh one on ones can create that relationship with the people that you are working. And of course, whenever you're talking about one on ones, you need to consider respect their times, right? Because um I remember I, I had some conversations with some people that say, yeah, I had a one on one. But you know, it's not so important for my, for my leader or my boss because they are always moving the meeting or suddenly they just cancel it without saying anything, right? So we need uh to be constant with this, defining some schedule and respecting the time for your people because they will feel that they are important for you too. And with that you will create an environment of collaboration between them and you and then it's a real teamwork.

And once, you know, all the uh all of your people and you know, every single point from the people that you're meeting, for example, during the, and once you're not just talking about job, but you are talking about the, the person, right, the things that the person want to bring up.

So then you can challenge these people, right? Because it's your people, you know them. And at the beginning, you need to have this period of time whenever you're meeting someone. But then you can see the potential on these people and you can challenge them to do something else to help them grow growing in their careers. And of course guidance, it's important because if you're having, for example, some junior people in your team, uh they will need, you know, that somebody is showing them what's the way to walk. So, empathy, dedication and trying people as individuals with something like the main Villars in my, in my career as a leader. So then uh why mentoring? I remember I was discussing or talking with some people about uh my presentation today. And when I, I say I'm gonna talk about mentoring or leadership positions. And many people say, hey, but you know, mentoring is kind of obvious for um any leader, any leader should be a mentor. So uh I, I had this kind of conversations and I really would like to, to see everything in the same way, right? I really would like to see that any leader in or any person in any leadership position is gonna be a mentor.

But actually, that's not always happening. So that's what I decided to talk about it uh in, in this presentation. So the main four points that I consider for mentoring, mentoring uh as I I added here, it's my, it was my new inspiration and motivation when I started or I have some time of experience as a leader. So the first point is strong relationships. Whenever you're mentoring somebody, you know your minty and you, you will create, you will build this relationship and it's a strong one because you are defining trust between each other because the person is gonna tell you which kind of things, for example, they don't know.

And according the help that you're bringing, they will have more trust on your decisions, on your advices and on the experience that you have so strong relationships are something amazing whenever you're mentoring somebody because maybe the person is gonna, I don't know, take other opportunity or maybe the person is going to leave the company at some point.

But that relationship that you created is gonna stay forever, then personal fulfillment. It's also something that you're gaining whenever you're mentoring a person because it's not just about um listening and trying to get some advices to a person that is new. But it's also, for example, when you see that the person is growing up or getting success in their careers, you are feeling happy about it because you know that you were part of it and you know that you help this person. So you are getting also personal fulfillment with a fulfillment, sorry, with the result of the mentoring that you're giving, then uh continuous learning. This is a great point whenever you're mentoring somebody because whenever you're working in some specific area, uh you had, you know, your years of experience, but um you are looking at the things with your own eyes, right? You are thinking according your vision of the things and you, I don't know, you had some specific opinion about something because of the way that you think. But when you're listening, somebody else, you're learning how this person is looked at, maybe the person is telling you about something that you already saw, but the person is gonna show you another way to see the things. So you are constantly learning from um from the Maine.

And it's not only that the main t is learning from you as a mentor. So it's a win to win from both sides. And of course, uh it boosts your coaching skills because at the beginning, OK, we need to mentor somebody, we need to show them the way to do something. But at some point, it's a matter of changing a little bit strategic with the people. And then instead of you telling somebody or giving some advice on how to do something you need to change, you know, your mind and you need to go and try to do that. The person is gonna take the best that they can from inside, right? So then you're also uh boosting your coaching skills. So those are the main points that I consider important from a mentoring perspective whenever you're a leader and something that uh I was uh working on also is uh as part of the coaching, as I said before, whenever you started uh getting this communication with your people, at some point, you need to start coaching them, right?

You need to have them doing the things uh or taking the best they can from an inside. So I was um when I was working with many of my teams, I remember many people was asking me what's my leadership style, what's my uh coaching model? And um to be honest, this model, the girl model is kind of natural whenever you are having this kind of relationship with your people and you will see that it suddenly you're doing it but without the name, OK? Because this is something that happened to me. I was having these kind of conversations with my people and I was doing this as part of my sessions with them. And then suddenly II I started investigating more and I realized that any leader can be using it without even knowing about it. But whenever you know that what you're doing, you know, whenever you put a name for it, it's even easier, you know, to transmit this whenever you're talking with somebody else that is trying to do the same. So basically, this model is telling us that the first point for a coaching session is gonna be the goal. But now the goal for the company or the goal for the quarter, right is gonna be the goal for the conversation. So that should be clear what, what the person is expecting to get from that uh, conversation.

Then whenever we talk about reality is when you are trying to make the person realize where they are about the problem or anything that they are trying to uh to talk or to solve in the conversation. So it's basically doing some questions about where you are and, and why you're there, right? And it's really important whenever you're asking these questions to avoid having defensive responses because this is not like a finger point that you're trying to feel guilty of somebody or you're trying to have the reason on the conversation, right? But it's a place when the person should be more open and need to understand where they are. Exactly. So the next point is options. Whenever we're talking about an option is that for example, sometimes the people is gonna, or the person is going to go and is going to tell you I had this problem and I don't know what to do and maybe they are expecting that you can you as a leader, you can say, OK, why don't you try this, this and this?

Right? But whenever it's like a coaching session, you already know this person and you, you know that the person can see the real uh result or the solution for the problem, right? So options, something that you need to try to get from the person whenever they are struggling with something and questions like uh for example, in a scale from 1 to 10, how likely you will take this decision or you will take this option? If the person is taking less than five, probably they will not take it. OK? And that kind of things to make the people more open. And the last one is the w when ma mainly as soon as it was identified the problem, the reality and the options or the goal, the reality and the options, you need to uh try to uh think about the way forward and try to have the people taking a commitment with the best actions to solve that problem.

So basically, these are the part of the goal model of the growth model. Sorry that I was actually using and was really useful for me. And I think I, I took almost all the time. I don't know if there is still any, any, any time for any questions. But um I, I am living here my Twitter connection and my linkedin. I'm so happy to get connected with all of you. If you have any questions about leadership, about software quality assurance, about automation, about how to work also with remote teams. It's something that I was working also in the last six years. So feel free to add me. Let's get connected. And I think I have just 30 seconds for questions. I don't know if somebody wants to add something or if you want to reach me on linkedin or Twitter, I will be really happy to answer any questions for you. So thank you very much for your time. I'm so happy to be here and let's keep enjoying this amazing event. Thank you guys.