9 Lessons in Leadership: How to Mentor Like a True Leader
A long-time veteran of the hospitality, travel, and financial industries, executive Steve Rosato believes in “leading by example.”
Since he joined Park West Gallery as its Chief Operating Officer in 2017, Rosato has had an eye for growth. He’s revamped the company’s organizational structure, championed process improvements, and implemented a keen leadership focus, among other key initiatives.
Rosato understands today’s workplace is fast-paced and demanding. That’s why he believes it is crucial to lead with a continuous-improvement mentality, whether mentoring an individual or an entire company.
When asked why he takes pride in mentorship, Rosato said: “Why do I enjoy mentoring emerging leaders? Mentoring is a responsibility that doesn’t feel like one, as you can continually learn yourself while teaching others at the same time. You essentially receive a front row seat to someone else’s progress and development, and that feels amazing! But ‘improvement’ doesn’t come overnight, which is why I try to instill a ‘1% better every day’ mindset with the teams I work alongside.”
Rosato recently led a leadership training session for a group of Park West Gallery auctioneers in Miami. Here are the 9 lessons he shared—lessons that are vital for anyone hoping to become a true leader.
9 Lessons in Leadership by Steve Rosato:
1) One leads people, one manages metrics
Which person are you? As a leader, it’s crucial to be helpful, care about your team’s personal growth, and create an environment where people can thrive. While every leader—and their team—is responsible for performing, a leader is not someone who simply hides behind their desk and crunches numbers.
2) Ask for help and be coachable
Great leaders know when to ask for help, and most importantly, aren’t afraid to receive constructive criticism. No one is perfect. As you become a leader, don’t be afraid to ask your team “What can I do better?” Being humble and approachable goes a long way.
3) Measure yourself by the success of those under your care
A quote by Simon Sinek has always resonated with me: “Leadership is not about being in charge. Leadership is about taking care of those in your charge.”
Success is almost never driven by one individual. If your team feels empowered, challenged, proud, and positive, then you should feel successful.
4) Understand and help others get to where they want to go.
Take a second and think about your professional journey. Who helped you get there? Be the person whose name you say out loud when you get asked that question. A true leader should look for opportunities to pay your success forward.
Communicating with your team and understanding their personal motivations and goals will help you help them, ultimately improving your business’ operations.
5) Include your team in decision-making
Allow your team to actively provide input, on both small and large decisions. This will show them that you trust and value their opinion. Leaders are often tied up in the big picture, but others on your teams may be more involved in the day-to-day operations like having a better understanding of what a client specifically needs, for example.
Creating a safe environment where the team can openly provide updates, discuss new ideas, and debate issues will allow you to surface the “best” possible path forward. And well-thought-out ideas that are formulated as a group can be beneficial for your business and your employees.
6) Praise in public, correct in private
Taking a moment to sincerely praise a member in front of their peers and other leaders is very powerful. It allows you to recognize what’s being done right, allow them to bask in the glow of their own success, while also allowing others to learn from a good example. To maximize the impact of these moments, it’s important to be specific. While generic “great job’s” are fine, pointing out specifically what they did right will let them know you were paying attention to the details and will amplify the positive impact of your praise!
On the other hand, public criticism can feel harsh, so it’s important to provide constructive feedback in private where you can be clear and direct while showing empathy and allow them to feel respected and cared for. Taking these steps will help ensure positive progress and outcomes, which are beneficial to both the employee and the company!
7) Your team will learn to do the right thing (If you model it yourself)
Doing the right thing isn’t always easy, but creating an environment where shortcuts, bad attitudes, and disrespect aren’t permitted is the only path forward. Having a strong ethical and moral compass is key to being a great leader. And, remember, your team is watching everything you do!
8) Leadership is earned when people follow you
How do you know if you’re a leader? True leaders understand that the most important investment you can make is in people. When you give those under your care the resources and support they need to succeed, you will establish trust and loyalty, and they will want to follow you!
9) Use these 3 “magic phrases”
Taking time to constantly evaluate your leadership style and ensure you are nurturing the emotional health of your team is critical. To help you do that, constantly ask “What do you think” to keep them involved and engaged, and remember that, when used appropriately and sincerely, the words “I was wrong” and “I’m sorry” are so powerful! No leader is perfect, and your team will appreciate your willingness to show your vulnerability and humanity.