Everyone can agree that leaders have the most power to influence the functioning and culture of any organization, whether a company, a nonprofit, or an entire country. More recent research, however, has shown that two roles that go largely unrecognized but that have as much influence in day-to-day successes of the organization are mentors and knowledge brokers. To make a molecular chemistry analogy, mentors and knowledge brokers serve like the electrons that keep the charge and provide the cohesion of molecules—meaning of your teams, your workforce, and your entire organization.
Mentors, both formal and informal, are the electrons keeping the charge, in other words the energy, of the organization through their guidance of new and existing members. Mentors are the ones not only “teaching the ropes” to their peers, but also the ones that carry and disseminate the customs and values of the organization through their coaching. Leaders may set these by example, but it’s mentors who inculcate them on the daily to others.
Knowledge brokers, on the other hand, are the electrons providing the cohesion through their bridging of departments, teams, or capabilities within the organization. Just like covalent bonds of molecules depend on sharing common electrons, knowledge brokers within an organization are members who participate in two or more teams/functions, either due to formal structures or because of their own hybrid performance. Knowledge brokers enhance creativity, help avoid inertia, blind-spots, and stagnation, and tend to boost the performance of all the groups they belong to because of the knowledge sharing they embody.
Do you know who are the mentors and brokers in your organization?
Why wait to find them and help them deploy their roles to their full extent?
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