According to Ursula Burns, Chairman and CEO of Xerox, one of the critical aspects of a company's success is "great leadership." Burns has been with the document giant since 1980, and she has been its president since 2009. She has a good understanding of what it takes to be a great leader and how to get there.
Burns was recently featured in a FastCompany article in which she argues that mentors—and not just any mentors, but the proper mentors—help people become better leaders. Burns' tale of poor beginnings and victorious success demonstrates how anyone may achieve their leadership ambitions with hard work and the right direction.
Learning from Ursula Burns
Sure, she's at the top now, but she wasn't always, and she credits her mentors with helping her get there. Burns advises potential leaders to get started early and seek advice from individuals who are best qualified to help them launch their careers.
Burns' worldview emphasizes the need to build connections based on trust and open communication. If someone wants to discover the perfect mentor, they must be open and honest about their objectives, what they hope to receive from the relationship, and how they aim to contribute. A mentee will not succeed with just anyone, which is why it is critical to match mentor and mentee based on their abilities, areas of expertise, experience, career goals, and expectations.
Right usage of technology
Like Burns, we at MentorCloud believe that pairing mentees with the right mentors are fundamental to effective mentorships and career success. Today's rising leaders' advantage over Burns is that they no longer have to seek out suitable mentors all on their own.
Mentees can now harness technology to access global networks like MentorCloud and tap into previously inaccessible pools of expertise. An organization cut off by a strict hierarchy of executives, managers, supervisors, and direct reports are suddenly transformed into an open communication and knowledge sharing system. Likewise, entire divisions of employees are brought together in ways that were once impossible by geographical boundaries.
Burns learned the value of selecting the right mentors early on, and once she had the proper support, she never looked back. Her success is a testament to the power of mentorship where it is most suited. Business professionals who see themselves as future leaders should take note and align themselves with the right mentors. You never know. You might find yourself matched with an influential leader like Ursula Burns.
If this post resonated with you, check with your organization to see whether you are part of the MentorCloud network. If not, sign up for a demo here! Our vision is to create a mentoring planet where true equality is achieved, and hard work is rewarded, but it's only possible with your participation.