As young leaders, we are often so focused on where our leadership journeys will ultimately take us that we lose sight of the importance of our season as new and emerging leaders. That’s a mistake. The development that takes place when we’re starting our leadership journey is extremely important. The purpose of this post is to help you value the developmental season of your leadership by showing you the benefits of being a young leader. Let’s jump right in!
Here are some of the benefits of being a young leader that I see:
1.) You Have the Opportunity to Learn While You Don’t Have to Lead – As young leaders, we all want to be leaders now! I think one reason for this is because we perceive that there are a lot of perks that come along with being a leader, but we don’t truly understand the responsibility that comes with it as well.
The reality is, when you don’t have to lead, you don’t feel the weight of responsibility or realize the magnitude of decisions that senior leaders face on a daily basis. Because of this reality, it’s easy for us to criticize those in leadership (I’ve been guilty of this), instead of learning from them.
We should constantly be striving to learn from the leaders ahead of us. One day, we’re going to be in their shoes and we will either be glad we learned from them or wish we would have! Take time to ask your leaders why they make the decisions they make. Ask them what it’s like to bear all the responsibility they have. It will cause you to be more empathetic and it will help you develop as a leader.
2.) You Get to Build the Foundation that Will Impact the Rest of Your Life – In your teens, twenties, and early thirties, you should be discovering who you are, what your gifts are, what you’re passionate about, how to deal with conflict in a healthy way, how to relate with people with different personalities, how to work hard and work smart, how to grow through lids in our lives, how to serve, how to handle our money, how to stay fit, and how to become emotionally healthy.[shareable] If you’ll handle the first half of your life correctly, the second half of your life will turn out well.[/shareable]
3.) You Have a lot of Time to Grow and Develop – All throughout my twenties, I’d have seasoned leaders tell me on a consistent basis, “Enjoy and take advantage of all the time you have to focus on personal growth and development right now. As you get married and have a family, you will not have the time you have now to develop.” That’s why building the foundation of our lives when we are young is so critical. When you are young you have way more time than you think you do to develop. Start being intentional! Get after! Do everything you can to grow!
4.) Seasoned Leaders Are Longing to Invest in You – One of the reasons I started to Learning to Lead Podcast and L3 Leadership was because I see a huge need for connecting young leaders and seasoned leader! I see young leaders wanting to be mentored by seasoned leaders and seasoned leaders longing to invest in emerging leaders, but neither of them know how to connect with each other. I want to bridge that gap.
If you want to get mentored, but don’t know where to start, I developed an entire lesson describing how to develop mentor relationships here. I also wrote a lessons that will walk you through the seasons of a mentoring relationship here. I hope these resources help will help you find the mentoring relationships you need in your life.
5.) You Have Ideas Your Company Has Not Thought of Before – I remember hearing Rick Warren tell an audience that he took a year or two off in order to spend time with the twenty-somethings in his church so he could learn what the future of the church looks like.
Here’s what he said that I thought was so interesting: “The reason I did that was because nobody did it for me when I was in my twenties. Everything you see at Saddleback today was in my heart in my twenties, but no senior leaders cared enough to talk to me about it. I won’t do that for the generation behind me.” Be willing to share your ideas with your organization. You can add more value to it than you think you can!
6.) You can Work Out a lot of the Issues in Your Life Now so They Won’t Hurt You and Others Later – As a leader, if you don’t develop the habit of consistently working out your character issues, you are setting yourself up for failure as a leader in the future. Joyce Meyer often says that, “As leaders we have to realize that as our influence grows, so does our ability to help people. However, as many people as we can help, we can also hurt.”[shareable cite=”Joyce Meyer”]’As leaders we have to realize that as our influence grows, so does our ability to help people. However, as many people as we can help, we can also hurt.'[/shareable]
How do you work out the issues in your life in order to get healthy?
- Following God with all your heart (He’ll deal with you about things and help you with them)
- By surrounding yourself with Godly leaders who can tell you no, call you out, and inform you of your blind spots
- Going to Counseling
- Peer Support – Have friends and family around you that can walk you though some of these issues!
Make sure that you spend more time on developing your character and your heart than you do your skills so that when you get the opportunity to lead and impact a lot of people, you help them and don’t hurt them.
7.) You Have time to Serve – If I could encourage you to do anything while you’re young, it would be to get involved and start serving in a church and/or a non-profit organization. Tony Campolo once said, “The age of youth was not meant for pleasure, but for heroic service!”
I believe every young leader needs to be serving somewhere. Serving will catapult your growth! I’ve met so many of my mentors, developed great friendships, learned my strengths and weaknesses, discovered my passions, developed my character, and made a difference in the lives of others all through serving. If you’re not serving somewhere, you’re missing out on a one of the greatest growth tools in God’s arsenal!
As you look over this list, my hope is that you start valuing your season as an emerging leader. Even though it may seem like it, it won’t last forever. If you’ll be intentional in this season of your life, you’ll be successful in the next season.
What are some of the other benefits of being a young leader? Comment below!
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