It takes a leader to develop a leader – leaders learn best from other leaders. Emerging leaders want to be around leaders who have battle scars; who have actually been in the game and have a few blood stains on their uniforms. For emerging leaders to be seasoned, wise, and effective leaders, they need proximity to, and interaction with veteran leaders.
How do we do this?
- In Jesus’ day, it was common for leaders-in-training to simply follow the veteran leader around. They would walk together, talk together, eat their meals together, sleep in neighboring tents – they spent months and years living life with Jesus. The disciples internalize the vision and values of the veteran leader in ways that served them the rest of their lives. Although this sounds simple and time-sensitive, it was effective then, and can be effective now – there is no substitute for personal investment. Those of us who are more seasoned in leadership should order our lives in such a way that we can carve out time to invest in Gen-next.
- Mentor and coach small groups of young leaders. Mentoring and coaching curriculum like Start Right Mentoring are available to help in any situation. It is the responsibility of veterans to provide the necessary opportunities so the next generation of leaders will be trained and ready to meet the challenges of the future.
What is the best catalyst for a leader’s growth?
Make him or her lead something. After Jesus identified and invested in his disciples, the moment came when He said “Pack your bags, it’s show time!” It’s make-it or break-it time! It’s swim or sink time. He didn’t minimize the challenge; He sent them out like sheep among wolves. This is the real deal. The stakes are high, the possibility of failure is real and I’m not going to protect you from all risks. You’ve got to step out and go lead! We must hand emerging leaders an important kingdom baton, not a little make-believe job or a low-stakes challenge. Something that will make them feel believed in, valued, and held in high esteem. Something that will make them fall on their knees and cry out for God’s help; something that will demand the best they have to offer. Leaders live for high-stakes challenges; kingdom goals that make them gasp and gulp.
What am I advocating for?
High stakes leadership and Kingdom challenges. Provide opportunities, stand by our emerging leaders, cheer them on, help them solve problems, pray for them and coach them to higher effectiveness. Help them find their niche and reach their full potential. Whatever challenges Teen Challenge face in the years ahead, I hope we can face them with confidence knowing that we were wise enough to invest in Gen-next.
Article by: Andree Aiken, ELP Leader/Coach
Excerpts from the book Courageous Leadership by Bill Hybels