Earlier this week I posted Part 1 of “Tips for raising up the next generation of young leaders.” If you haven’t already done so, please read that post (below) before reading further.
7. Communicate regularly in both encouraging and confronting them
My experience is increasingly teaching me that timely, thorough and honest communication is one of the greatest needs that churches have--both corporately and on a personal level. Let me address the personal level. I’ve discovered, for starters, that many leaders have too many direct reports and there is not enough time taken to invest in solid communication with those direct reports.
Try to get your direct reports down to max 3-5 and then make sure that you are communicating regularly with those who report to you. Let them know when they are doing well and when they are not doing well. People want to know how they are doing. A once-a-year progress review won’t cut it. To keep motivation up, people need to hear several times a month if you are happy or not happy with what they are doing. Be open and honest with them, make time for them, listen well and answer their questions.
8. Don’t be afraid to select a few
I hear from some leaders that it’s not fair to pick certain people…that others will feel bad…that it’s biased and shows prejudice. That is pure and simple hogwash, without a thread of biblical support. Moses picked a few, Nehemiah picked a few, Jesus picked a few, as did the Apostle Paul. It’s not a matter of value but of strategy. By picking a few, you are not saying they are more valuable and others are less valuable. Everyone is equally valuable; everyone is not equally strategic. One of the key responsibilities of any leader is to develop other leaders and to do that you need to carefully select a few in whom to invest. It is strategically critical for leaders to hand pick and develop other leaders or get ready for an early grave (See Exodus 18).
9. Those you select don’t have to be perfect, or older, to lead
It’s not age, but maturity, that matters. Gray hair is over-rated and maturity is under rated. I’ve met very mature 20-year olds and very immature 40-year olds. Paul told Timothy not to let his youth stand in the way of leading (1 Timothy 4:12). At times we tend to dismiss or overlook a potential leader because he is not perfectly ready or old enough. Focus not on perfection but on a hunger to grow and learn.
There are some very mature and gifted leaders who are in their 20’s and 30’s who are being overlooked because existing leaders don’t think they’re old enough or experienced enough to have major responsibilities. Give them a shot and develop them as you go along.
10. Be vulnerable and real with them
Younger leaders highly value authenticity. Share your failures, your mistakes, your fears and your sins. It's not a perfect leader they want to follow but an authentic/ genuine leader. My generation used to think that being vulnerable and sharing your mistakes and sin was showing weakness. This younger generation sees that kind of openness as a strength. Don’t cover up and hide, but confess your fears, your stupid decisions, and your sin.
I just finished a great book by Brad Lomenick The Catalyst Leader. Brad heads up the Catalyst Movement, which works with the next generation of leaders. On Friday of this week I will share (straight from his book) “Twenty Points on Leading Twentysomethings.” The book is amazingly insightful on how to work with, understand and develop young leaders.