What to Look for in an Idol?
The Importance of Models and Mentors
One psychological research study showing the importance of models and mentors is the Quantum Opportunities Program (1995) by the Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development. Students from low-income families underwent mentorship from 9th to 12th grade. 63% graduated from high school, compared to 42% from the control group; and from those who graduated, 42% enrolled in college, compared to 17% from the control group.
Desirable Characteristics of Models and Mentors
A model, a mentor or an idol should ideally possess the following characteristics:
- A model, a mentor or an idol is someone one looks up to and respects. Parents are in the best position to serve as models for their children. However, as children grow older, they are exposed to other authority figures, such as teachers, public officials and religious officers, and begin to pick for themselves. As stated from my previous article on observational learning, warm, powerful and atypical personalities command more attention than those who are cold, weak and typical.
- A model, a mentor or an idol is someone who serves as a competent guide. Competence is an important factor for mentorship. Consider a strong personality who fails to command a followship because he/she is not capable of delivering his/her expected roles. Beyond the simple on-spot attributes of an idol lie credibility and expertise to perform expected actions.
- Lastly, a model, a mentor or an idol is willing to work with and help his/her students, mentee or followers to achieve their goals. Followers follow their idol because they want to be like him/her. If model, a mentor or an idol fails to lift his/her followers along with his/her status, he/she fails to meet their expectations, and he/she will lose followers in the long run.
Power, skill and influence work together to enable a model, a mentor or an idol fulfill his/her duty.
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