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How to Keep Young Leaders From Leaving

Several surveys reveal that your top young leaders are probably considering other job opportunities. For many, if not most, ministries, this thought can be concerning. The inability to retain young leaders can hinder future ministry opportunities.

Some young leaders leave for financial purposes. For various reasons, they feel like they need a higher paycheck. But not all young leaders leave for more money. In fact, many accept roles elsewhere for reasons that have nothing to do with money. And this can be good news for those ministries with tight budgets. There are ways to retain young leaders that are without cost. Here are six suggestions to keep young leaders from leaving:

1. Give them a mentor.

Young leaders tend to be very receptive to mentorship. They want to learn. They want to grow. They want help with their careers. And they appreciate those who take a personal interest in them. When an organization takes interest in mentoring young leaders, young leaders take interest in the organization. 

2. Provide a variety of challenging work.

One of the reasons young leaders change jobs is to gain experience. This desire can be met with their existing employer by simply providing a variety of work challenges and new opportunities for innovation and creativity.

3. Focus on the what and not the how.

Young leaders will have new and different ideas on how to accomplish their ministry area’s mission. They will have different ideas on how to lead their teams. Some of these ideas will work while others will not. Give young leaders the space to determine how to best reach their goals. If they make a mistake, they will learn from it and adjust accordingly.

4. Offer schedule flexibility.

Are there some reasons to work in the office? Absolutely. Do young leaders always need to be in the office to accomplish their goals? Probably not. Young leaders are able to use technology to work anywhere and anytime. Organizations who desire to keep their young leaders are wise to require office hours when necessary but allow flexibility when they are not.

5. Encourage entrepreneurial efforts.

Young leaders tend to be entrepreneurial. Allow them to present and pursue new ventures that may benefit the ministry. Present the vision and give them freedom to explore new ways to chase it.

6. Assume the best.

Trust your young leaders. Young leaders can be great workers. They can inject a heightened energy level into the ministry. And they can conjure up new, creative ways to accomplish old, familiar goals. An unwarranted wariness of their talent and ability can easily erode their excitement about their role. And when their excitement erodes, so does the likelihood that they will stick around.

What about you? What are some suggestions you have for retaining young leaders? Please place your comments in the section below.  

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Living in Wake Forest, NC, Art’s curiosities center on faith-infused leadership, marketing, and life observations. Such interests fueled his authoring of several articles and two books, Simple Life and Raising Dad.