Sharpen self before mentoring others

17 Sep, 2023 - 00:09 0 Views
Sharpen self before mentoring others

The Sunday Mail

THE Bible, in Proverbs 27:17, says: “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”

Changing Perspectives

Rutendo Gwatidzo

I like this scripture because it helps me to introspect, especially before I offer any mentorship, coaching or teaching.

It takes iron to sharpen iron.

In other words, it takes experience to teach others well.

Experience can be found in many forms.

It can either be positive or negative. Experience can also be found in doing or not doing.

Whichever way one gets experience, it is good enough to help assist others through sharing life lessons.

However, we have some who like teaching but do not like learning.

Who corrects your errors?

One author once said: “Everyone can make an error, but that error doesn’t become a mistake until you refuse to correct it.”

Being open to correction is difficult because some people think it makes them vulnerable.

For that reason, many people do not like being corrected because they feel it is a sign of weakness.

However, accepting corrections is part of a learning curve that takes us up to another level. I used to hate doing corrections at school. It made me and others feel dull. This created unhealthy competition among learners.

Some would then cheat to avoid doing corrections.

In some cases, the teachers would ask those who would have passed to assist their colleagues in solving the problem.

Oftentimes, it was the smart learner who would rise to the occasion.

As a result, they became familiar with teaching others.

The challenge came on a day the smart learners failed to solve the problem, with the teacher still asking others who would have passed to help out.

The smart learners, who were now accustomed to teaching others, would then find it difficult to listen to those they deemed dull.

They ended up refusing to study with others. I remember, when the Grade Seven results came out, we were surprised to learn that six of the learners who used to be in the top 10 had been eclipsed by their “dull” counterparts, and had dropped into the top 20.

That is when I learnt a valuable lesson that no matter how good you are at doing something, you still need to learn from others.

We all need continuous growth and it comes from continuous learning.

You need to constantly check on who taught you what you teach others.

If you find yourself referring to yourself all the time, then you need to correct some errors.

Organisational status

Many employees long to be managers so that they get to lead, control, guide and direct others, because, from the outside, leading looks like an easy and attractive undertaking.

But things are not always what they seem.

According to research I did involving five organisations last week, most managers wish to turn back the hands of time so that they leave management positions that they have.

When I asked why, interestingly, the one reason that was mentioned the most was the pain of being responsible and accountable for a team that does not comply with directives.

I realised that most long-serving managers had become redundant over the years. They constantly dish out instructions and train others while not receiving the same. I would like to challenge company owners to invest in leadership development programmes so that managers do not wear out.

The same way they teach others, they need to be taught, too.

The same way they guide others, they need to be guided as well.

It takes iron to sharpen iron.

For them to produce quality, they have to be quality themselves.

General facts

To be more effective in what you do, whether as a leader or not, self-introspection is good.

Before dishing out anything to anyone, ask yourself whether someone is dishing out the same to you.

Be inspired to make it a daily habit of asking yourself questions like, where do I need to improve and who can help me to improve? The question applies to every aspect of your life and it helps with continuous development.

People who self-correct grow faster than those who wait for others to correct them.

Only iron sharpens iron.

Before giving out nuggets of wisdom, be sure to receive some yourself.

I encourage you all to have a mentor, if you do not already have one.


Rutendo Gwatidzo is managing consultant at The HUB HR Consultancy. She is a multi-award-winning consultant, speaker and mentor. She is also author of the books “Born to Fight” and “Breaking the Silence”. Contacts: +263 714 575 805/ win[email protected]/ Facebook: Rutendo Gwatidzo_Official


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