There was a phase in early 2014 where I had a lot of new initiatives going. In retrospect, I was smack dab in the middle of a horrible career calculation. I had gotten excited about DevOps, told my management about it, and found myself on a project to get all of our development teams operating on the same development tools. Needless to say I was in a lot of meetings with people who were looking at me angrily as a complete waste of their time.
It was during this time that I really dropped the ball on mentoring.
I would be in meetings all day, and the poor members of my team would need my help in growing and learning and I would be absent. They would try to catch me as I walked very briefly to my desk before going to the next meeting. It was really bad.
I realized a valuable lesson during that season. If you’re in meetings all day and don’t have time for people around you, then you and others around you are going to stagnate. That may be fine for people at a certain level, but for most of us that is a very bad thing.
Since then, I’ve learned to create margin in my day so I can check in with people. I keep my calendar blocked during a portion of the day and I focus on planning and also on talking to people. I reach out to them, make sure that we have an open line of communication and that they have a solid plan themselves.
If you’re wanting to mentor people, put room in your day for it. You have to create margin in your position for leadership. Your work isn’t all about what you do yourself today, it’s more about doing the smart things and enabling those around you to do the same.