A dear friend asked me to put some thoughts together on KEYS to raising better leaders. I thought some others might benefit from them. Please ADD your thoughts and ideas you’ve heard of below. Thanks.
How do we raise better leaders?
- Thank God for the opportunity to participate in more than JUST the present! In training leaders you are getting to touch the future and affect something that outlives you. Thank God for that gift - and use it wisely and soberly.
- BE a model of humble, strong, servant leadership. Have energy and aggressive vision YOURSELF! Model FAITH (it is a verb and a noun). Good leaders model both it’s “nounishness” and “verbishness.”
- Influence the influencers: The influencers are their parents, preachers, youth ministers and teachers. Enlist them in helping to train up better leaders for the future. Help them to see that the people they are teaching, training, etc are the next generation of leaders and that by impacting them you impact the future.
- Be intentional: Let children within your influence know you expect them to grow up to be leaders. They will become how we bend them. Also let younger men know you think of them as future elders.
- Be clear: Let those who you want to lead know you want them to lead BETTER than you do! Sometimes they never can see themselves and certainly can’t see themselves being as effective as excellent leaders they see. I remember dad often saying he wanted his sons to be better preachers than he was. I couldn’t imagine that (still can’t) - but hearing it spurred me on to strive to prepare to lead well.
- Take some under your wings to gently mentor them: What if you began NOW taking a younger future leader out once a month and intentionally mentored them: Talked with them about situations (without compromising confidentiality) and about decision making, about areas of leaders lives and how to be the best they can in those areas, about wise decisions and poor ones that will affect their future. Help them see areas where they can grow. Talk to them specifically about traits of good effective leaders. Recommend and/or buy for them good books. Put them onto good blogs.
- Teach them about seeing the underside of leadership: I think this is such a key teaching that it deserves it’s on bullet point. As a volunteer you are commended and applauded - but the moment you become “Official” you are “expected” to do and be more. And most are not prepared for the fact that you WILL see and hear and are confronted with the negative within the organization or the church. This can often be very disheartening for one who up to that point believed everything was wonderful and good. “You are going to see and hear stuff. If you can’t handle that don’t ever accept a roll, if you think you will be drawn into it or drawn down, never become a leader.”
- Teach them about healing quickly: In degrees of importance this is the twin of the previous one. When you lead you can’t wallow in a hurt or a slight. You have to move forward and QUICKLY. I’ve said before “the effectiveness of your leadership will be in direct correlation to the length of time it takes you to recover from a hurt.” If you allow bitterness in it WILL grow and destroy you.
- Train them away from jealousy: If we are going to train long-term leaders we need to help them see the destructiveness of jealousy and to learn to appreciate and applaud the successes of others. Every talent has it’s place be thankful for how God uses yours not jealous of how He has gifted others.
- Offer as many various leadership training opportunities as possible: Training classes, lectureships, videos, websites, online workshops - what a time we live in! Make the most of those. I’ve led in several “mock” leadership programs where we offer various “real-life” scenario and then put groups together to “solve” them. This helps them see that you have to work with others and that any situation has more than one element.
So, what have you seen or tried that helps build leaders?