For leaders around the globe, the current question has become:
“How do I develop young leaders?”
Not minions that can manage my task list, but people I can applaud as they move and shake the world 10 years from now. This is a legacy issue that most want answered. If we care about what we are doing and want the impact of it to outlasts us, young leadership that is ready to move the company, the church, the non prof forward is a non-negotiable.
Yet what most miss is that in the leadership development process there is a fine line between simply baby-sitting a 20-year-old employee whose managing your task list and developing them into a highly competent leader who can mobilize people and resources for the greater good. In deciphering between the two, here are 3 things to look at:
Self Developed Goals
If you want to develop leaders, let them know your overall vision and mission, and then let them set their own high-stake goals that you can affirm and buy into. In contrast, if you want to manage them give them your vision, mission, strategy, tactical plan and ensure they follow through on a daily basis. One method produces people who can succeed or fail growing from both, while management most often doesn’t allow either to happen.
Short term wins
Most established leaders know that the largest obstacle to a young leader becoming effective is their inability to create a goal and then to actually see it through. If you want to develop young leaders, ensure they get small wins right off the bat helping them gain both momentum and confidence. Keep in mind that creating short-term wins is different from hoping for short-term wins. Those that manage young people often ride them from the beginning to the end of a game plan to ensure its success. For someone with the potential to lead this is the difference between an adventurous project and a torturous task list. Give them space, but ensure short term success.
Following through with consequences is imperative. A person who knows how to develop leaders allows for immediate consequences, understanding that failure and the ability to experience all that comes with failure shapes leaders like nothing else. Managers don’t allow failure, but in the process form young people who do not attach logical consequences to their decision making processes. This forms the most irrational and inconsistent of next generation leaders. At all costs keep them accountable to logical consequences.
Every incredible thing that the world has seen can almost always be traced back to the legacy of a leader. One who knew how to develop dreamers and game changers. There is a difference between making managers and developing leaders. Let’s get to work.