Talking Point: The Disney Institute Blog

A Mentor’s Guide: Three Tips for Leadership Development Success

August 19, 2014 by Bruce Jones, Senior Programming Director, Disney Institute

Mickey Mouse & Anne Hamilton
Recently, The Meeting Professional featured an article on “How to be a Mentor,” by Anne Hamilton, Vice President of Resort Sales and Services for Disney Destinations. In the article, Hamilton shares her personal journey of working in her family’s hotel business and how her Dad became her first mentor, thus laying the foundation for her career. 

When it comes to mentoring, Hamilton says “One of the greatest gifts you can give someone is the knowledge that helps them grow their career and become a better person.” And, on becoming a mentor, Hamilton offers the following tips: “Be Four… Be on the lookout. Be committed. Be transparent. Be yourself. It’s really about finding the right mentoring relationship.”

Hamilton shares great advice. A mentoring style of leadership demonstrates the importance of helping others achieve their highest potential and is a trait that The Walt Disney Company has purposefully cultivated and encouraged among its own Cast Members throughout the years.

At Disney Institute, in our Leadership Excellence professional development training course, we explore the idea that great leaders sustain organizational values by proactively developing the next generation of leaders. And, we believe the best way to develop the next generation of leaders is by intentionally looking for people displaying leadership behaviors and providing them the organizational training and personal development tools to succeed. 

So, how can your organization foster a mentoring environment – one that both inspires leaders to become mentors and encourages employees to seek mentors? Here, we offer three of our own Disney best practices:

  • Encourage Meet and Greets - We regularly encourage all of our Cast Members, at all levels, to network with other Cast Members in different departments and areas throughout the Company. Meet and greets are an important part of our culture, and they foster critical learning and networking between individuals and departments who may not otherwise have an opportunity to interact. 
  • Offer Job Shadows – Following a Meet and Greet, we might offer a Job Shadow. In this opportunity, a Cast Member will observe another job function or department more closely in detail. This type of learning provides a more in-depth insight for the Cast Member, and can be critical in the event of a future promotion or job transition. 
  • Create Temporary Assignments - Designed to foster developmental learning opportunities for potential leaders, a Cast Member will temporarily perform the role of a regular (full-time) Cast Member in their own or another department, all the while learning and growing their own skills within the organization.  

Not only are these and other best practices beneficial in the creation of the future leaders of our company, these opportunities often serve as the genesis for building relationships and creating meaningful mentoring opportunities among our Cast Members. 

Share with us your best mentoring practices – How have these practices helped you to foster leadership development within your own organization?

We’d love to hear from you!
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For nearly three decades, Disney Institute has provided engaging and insightful learning opportunities for business professionals and organizations, teaching them the Disney approach to business….focusing on Service, Leadership, Culture, Brand Loyalty, Creativity and Innovation. To learn more about how you can attend an upcoming course, see our full Course Calendar. Not sure which course is best for you? Try our Course Recommender

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Posted in Leadership Excellence | Tagged Leadership, Leadership Excellence, Mentor, Mentoring, Networking, Relationships, The Meeting Professional, Anne Hamilton, Bruce Jones, Mickey Mouse

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