There will be a whole new set of leaders in your organization in the next few years.
The leaders of today will be long forgotten. Some will have retired, others moved on to new callings and others simply dropped out of ministry.
Regardless of the reason, the reality is the leadership picture of your organization will change. If we care about the long-term effectiveness and impact of our mission, then leadership development must be a priority today. That means we need to be looking among the next generation to see who can take up the mantle of leadership and give them the coaching and experience they need to lead well.
So, what do tomorrow’s leaders look like today?
This is an important question because while we may have a few good years left, our job is to identify and develop the leaders of tomorrow.
So, back to our question—what do tomorrow’s leaders look like today?
1. They’re idealistic.
Many young leaders haven’t had their first big humbling failure yet. So, they’re idealistic, have all the answers and are quick with an opinion. They believe they have a better way.
The only problem is they haven’t worn the shoes of leadership long enough to really know. Once they get a few good failures under their belts, they’ll be all the wiser.
But that’s not a good reason to hold them back from trying.
Why not allow them to get some “failure” experience under the watchful eye of a wiser experienced leader?
I love young, idealistic leaders; they stretch me, and they challenge my thinking. They remind me to trust God rather than logic. They remind me not to say, “We’ve never done it that way before.” Yes, idealism can be dangerous, but it also has its advantages. They tend to think, “What if?” more than a seasoned leader.
So, what might happen if you intersect the wisdom and experience of a seasoned leader with the enthusiasm and idealism of a young leader?
2. They’re raw and unpolished.
Have you ever gone gem mining?
When my kids were young, they loved going to the mountains of Tennessee to dig through the dirt looking for these hidden treasures. They would spend hours digging, sifting, searching until they would discover the rare gem among the rubble.
It didn’t look impressive at first, but once they spent some time cleaning and polishing, they held a shiny prize in their hand that they would proudly display in their room.
Young leaders can be raw and unpolished. It’s easy to judge them for their lack of discernment and discipline. It’s tempting to put them aside, deeming them unready. But those who invest development time and energy when these unpolished leaders are young will discover a strong leader they can trust and empower in a few short years.