Thursday, August 11, 2011

What older leaders should know about younger leaders

I ran across this post from Brad Lomenick of Catalyst fame about older leaders understanding younger leaders better.  At age 40 I find myself in the middle of this spectrum between young and old.  We have worked hard at Grace to continue to stay young with our staff hires and our volunteer leaders. It is so easy for churches to allow their ideas, their methods, and their programs to become outdated and stuck.  We want to avoid this by creating ample opportunities for young leaders to be involved in leadership roles in our ministry. I have seen the truth of Brad's post first-hand as I've worked with young leaders.  I picked the three insights from Brad that I resonated with the most (Brad lists 14).

1.  Willing to work together - young leaders are more willing to collaborate than any other generation before. They trust each other. Really. And see collaboration as the starting point, not some grandiose vision of teamwork that is far off in the distance. Collaboration is now the norm. Many young leaders don’t care who gets the credit- it’s way less about WHO and way more about WHAT.

2. Authenticity and humility wins - trust is incredibly important. Leaders won’t have followers going forward unless they trust them and see that they are authentic and real. Authenticity is not only important to the next generation; it’s a requirement. The next generation wants to follow leaders who are willing to admit that they don’t know it all.

3. See social justice as the norm  Leaders who care about the poor and lean into causes and see the social gospel as a key ingredient to following Christ are no longer seen as the exception. Young leaders see taking care of the poor and sharing the Gospel as BOTH crucial to the advancement of the Church and of God’s Kingdom. 

If you are an older leader, what are some insights/experiences you have had in working with younger leaders?  Younger leaders, what would you add to this list?


Kathy Schriefer said...

I know this isn't what you're looking for, but a big difference I find is in ways of communication. I need to learn to text better so I can communicate with younger leaders who don't actually talk on the phone or even read their e-mail much anymore. Also, it's interesting that each of us is 'older' to someone and 'younger' to someone.

M. Coffey said...

Derek, I think all three of these elements are absolutely essential! They definitely resonate with me.