Thoughts on Leadership: The Maturity of a Mentor Leader

“In order to become an effective mentor leader, in whatever setting, it is important to take a look inside yourself.” – Tony Dungy The ability to take an honest look at yourself and examine who you are, what makes you tick, what makes you do the things you do, is a mark of maturity for a mentor leader. Identify what drives and motivates you, the areas that are more challenging, and the areas in which you’re naturally gifted.

This self-examination should be more intentional, not just expected by the demands of a particular moment. Looking inside ourselves is not necessarily the easiest journey. But it is essential throughout our lives if we want to continue to grow into all we are meant to be.

As I continue to read the book, The Mentor Leader, by Tony Dungy, I realize that understanding our strengths and our weaknesses is essential to our roles as leaders. As mentor leaders, we must take an objective look in the mirror and have a positive impact to mentor and lead others.

As Dungy explains in Chapter 3: The Maturity of a Mentor Leader – A Look Within: “In order to be effective mentor leaders, we must operate within the framework of a healthy self-awareness.”

Below are the key points from Chapter 3, which focuses on this concept:  

  • A personal inventory can help you understand and evaluate the things that make you tick.
  • Don’t continue to struggle with baggage that only weighs you down and hinders your progress. Get help if you need it.
  • If you carry emotional baggage, the only person it bothers, affects, and holds back is you.
  • Your past has helped to set a course for what motivates, directs, and drives you, or what holds you back.
  • As long as you have breath, God’s purpose for your life is not yet finished. He has so much more for you to do.
  • If it took a lifetime for you to get this way, it may take a little time to understand and reverse the negative effects.
  • It takes a certain amount of time to prepare for a game, and once we’re prepared, extra time won’t help – only execution will.
  • If you start making excuses to cut out the things that are important because of urgent circumstances, it will become a habit.
  • Our relationships and other commitments should leave us more fulfilled and energetic for our jobs and other important pursuits.
  • Someone else’s agenda cannot determine how you will achieve balance and order the priorities in your own life.
  • We should surround ourselves with people whose strengths complement our weaknesses.
  • Part of knowing our strengths and understanding our weaknesses is making a commitment to growth.

Follow Tony Dungy’s seven action steps so that you can transfer positive behaviors and attitudes to other people:

Action Steps

1. Take a look inside: Mentor leaders know who they are, what motivates them, and why they do what they do and react the way they react; and they are always ready to change in order to become all that God intends. 2. Evaluate your motives: Are you working for yourself? for God? for others? 3. Come to grips with your past: Get help if you need it. Effective leaders get past the past – the things that tie them down. They realize forgiveness leads to freedom. 4. Be who you are. Mentor leaders lead as the people God made them to be, and they don’t try to be someone else. 5. Evaluate your priorities: Consider the order of importance you place on your relationship with God, your family, your work, your friends and everything else. Be willing to reevaluate over time. 6. Take a look in the mirror: Recognize that God has given you incredible gifts, abilities, and strengths that are unique to you. 7. Complement your strengths with the strengths of others: Remember, not only were you created for community, but others were too. You were not created to do everything by yourself.

The continued willingness to examine our own lives is an essential part of becoming the best mentors we can be, which means having the biggest possible impact on the people around us.