Leading “THAT” Generation Matters

Somehow we’ve gotten a little confused about the essence of leadership. If you think it’s all about getting bigger, going higher, and commanding more respect and attention from others, you’ve missed the point.

Leadership is all about giving everything we’ve got to others. If we have knowledge, wisdom, and insight, we lead by giving it away. We grow by investing in others.

There is an entire generation of up-and-coming leaders who need elders. They need fathers, models, mentors, and friends. And leadership is, among many other things, the willingness to lead the next generation of leaders.

Becoming obsolete is easy. All you have to do is stay on the path of least resistance, pay the least cost, and think only about yourself and your own success.

To avoid becoming obsolete, try one of these tips for leading the next generation…

Grab Coffee

Can you lead from a distance? Sure. But if all you do is lead from a distance, you are severely limiting your opportunity to lead to your fullest potential.

And that’s why coffee is so important (and espresso is even better!). Keith Ferrazzi’s book, Never Eat Alone, makes a pretty excellent point. Every time you eat (or have coffee) alone, you’re missing out on one of the most opportune moments for mentoring.

Aside from those rare times when you really just need to work alone for a while, always ask yourself, who could do coffee with me?

Give Resources

A few years ago, a mentor of mine gave me a copy of Jeffrey Gitomer’s book, The Little Black Book of Connections. I’ve since given away a few dozen copies. I keep a few in my car for when I’m doing coffee with a young leader.

That book taught me a big lesson about leadership – that if you want to succeed, add value to people’s lives. And Jeffrey was saying it before it was so cool to say it.

When you come across a great book about leadership, buy an extra copy to give away. And when you use an app that makes you more productive, share about it on social media.

Gather a Group

You can and should grab coffee with individual leaders. But you can also draw together a learning community – young leaders who will sit at the table with you on a regular basis.

  • They’ll learn from you.
  • They’ll learn from each other.
  • And you’ll learn more from them than you expected.

Start off with some “life” talk and then ask a couple of powerful questions to stimulate productive discussion. Close it with a word of encouragement.

Guide through Coaching

Coaching is a little different than mentoring. With mentoring, your goal is to pour knowledge into someone and help them to apply it. With coaching, your goal is to ask powerful questions about whatever a leader may be struggling with to help them get unstuck and growing again.

Coaching is really a special skillset. I’m a big believer in getting coached and in coaching others. The value of great leadership coaching is hard to estimate.

When I was starting a church, which I’d never done before, I had a lot of questions about what to do next and how not to fail miserably. I found coaches who asked me tough questions and helped my work through my biggest obstacles. It’s worth it!

Give Permission

Think, for a second, about the first time you were invited into an opportunity by someone in a leadership position. It was probably a little scary. And it was probably life-changing. It was a defining moment.

Don’t hog all the good projects for yourself. Give some of the best opportunities away to allow young leaders to stretch their wings and get their legs under them.

When you give a young leader a project that is just beyond their present capabilities, you stretch them to learn, to grow, to expand their current knowledge and skill set. It’s part of leadership development.

The world needs recurring generations of leaders who will influence their world boldly for good. Invest in them, or become obsolete!

Learn more about Auxano’s Leadership Pipeline process.

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Brandon Cox

Brandon Cox has been a Pastor for fifteen years and is currently planting a church in northwest Arkansas, a Saddleback-sponsored church. He also serves as Editor of Pastors.com and Rick Warren's Pastors' Toolbox, and authors a top 100 blog for church leaders (brandonacox.com). He's also the author of Rewired: Using Technology to Share God's Love.

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In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
— Russ Wright
"While I understand the intent behind this phrase" Expound please. What do you understand to be the intent behind that phrase?
— Ken
Thank you for this article! I'm the pastor of a small church. My gifting is in teaching and we are known for aiding Christians in becoming Biblically literate. Visitor's often comment on God's presence being very real in our services. But we just don't seem to be growing. I have some soul-searching, etc. to do and this article provides some solid ground from which to proceed. Thank you again.
— Jonathan Schultheis

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