In his time since joining Elevate Healthcare, Scott Harper has become the go-to source for advice with an open-door policy and a calendar full of mentorship tasks. During the pandemic, Scott proactively connected with his team members, virtually checking in with them and putting their needs on the top of his to-do list. If you ask any of his colleagues, Scott is a foundational member of the company, truly elevating his team by understanding them personally and building them up professionally.
PM360: How did you step into the role of mentor for existing members of Elevate Healthcare? Did you have a specific process for building team trust?
Scott Harper: I am a big believer in understanding what motivates people before attempting to coach them and I approach this on an individual basis. In this COVID environment, all companies are hungry for talent.
As we onboard new people, it is more important than ever to find out what kind of support they have had in the past and how to improve upon it in the future. This ultimately benefits the company and the career path of the mentee.
Talk to me about your leadership style and what important advice you would give to aspiring mentors.
First, I listen. I listen intently with purpose and utilize the power of a well-timed pause. Often, mentees just need a platform to voice their thoughts in a safe environment and I can encourage them to come up with a solution on their own. This style might be challenging for someone who is eager to act quickly and provide immediate guidance, but I find that everyone, mentees and clients alike, appreciate a thoughtful response.
Given that your mentoring style takes a lot of one-on-one time with your team members, group time with the entire team, and individual research time. How do you balance this with your other work at Elevate?
This can be a difficult balance given the fast-paced nature of our industry. I truly believe that making myself available to my mentees, even when my calendar is jammed with meetings, shows commitment to them as a professional and a person. This is the foundation of a trusting, fruitful, mentee-mentor relationship.
How did you continue to be available to your team while working from home through the pandemic? Did it change your mentorship style?
I’ve always believed in an open-door policy and COVID made that more difficult. These circumstances made it even more important to listen for understanding (and not for response). Authenticity, empathy, and restraint can often create an environment where everyone feels comfortable to share, be heard, and ask for guidance.
It sounds like your mentees and clients appreciate your patience and listening skills. Where do you think you acquired these leadership skills?
My mother is a great listener, so I must credit her. She taught me the importance of asking questions to better understand while listening. My father, on the other hand, has guided me to be levelheaded and solution oriented. Together, these traits allow me to support and advance individual career development.
You seem to have a great relationship with all of your mentees. How do you help them build trust with each other as a team?
Pre-pandemic was all about office visits, hallway discussions, water cooler debates, and one-on-one lunches to connect with my mentees. Now, we are reliant on virtual settings and I encourage morning meet-ups over coffee to start the day and offer a fresh perspective.
What would you say is an important lesson that any mentor needs to learn to build the type of relationships and successes you have at Elevate?
I think it’s important to reflect on past experiences. Setbacks are going to happen in your career no matter how much you plan, and I’ve learned from my own. That’s why it’s important to leverage relationships and conversations to reflect and offer advice. No mentor is perfect, and we want to protect our mentees and help them do the best they can along their journey. That can only happen if you’re honest about your experiences and honest in your feedback so that everyone can continue to grow.