Young Leaders Waiting for Permission

January 25, 2010 - Mac Lake - Leadership

Sometimes I find young leaders with so much talent, so much potential and so many great ideas just sitting and waiting for permission to release their giftedness.  So instead of LEADING  they’re WAITING.  Waiting until they’re older, waiting for someone to notice, waiting for permission to make a difference.    That breaks my heart because they have so much to offer.  The innovative ideas that will shape the church of the future lay in the minds of our Next Gen leaders.  So I want to challenge young leaders….LEAD.  I’m not advocating that you usurp authority but I do want to challenge you to lead where you are.   Here are a few thoughts I would offer…

  • Clarify expectations – If you are unsure of what’s expected of you then go to your supervisor and ask.  Or even better yet, take your supervisor a list of 4-5 goals you would like to accomplish over the next 6 months and ask for his or her input.  By working together to shape those goals you’ll have shared expectations and the freedom to make things happen. 
  • Do Your Job to the Max – Most likely when you were hired you were given a job description.  It may be very specific or very broad but that description gives you permission to go to work.  Take initiative and make some things happen that fall within the boundaries of your responsibility.
  • Ask for a Challenge – If you’re getting bored in your role and feel as if you are able to take on more then ask your supervisor for additional responsibility.   Ask if there is something you can be a part of that would be a learning experience for you as well as use your gifts.
  • Bring solutions – What ever area you’re working in I can guarnatee that it’s not working perfectly.  Listen carefully for things your boss or team have identified as a challenge, problem or issue.  Think through potential solutions and bring those to the table.  A key principle to remember is: Bring Solutions not problems to your supervisor.  This not only shows initiative but it’s a learning opportunity for you as you discuss these options with your leader.
  • Grow – Don’t wait until you have to learn something…start learning everything you can now.  If you’re a young leader remember one of the best things you can do for your future is grow yourself today.  Read, read more and read even more.  This is an investment in your own leadership and trust me it will pay off.

Now a word to those who are leading young leaders…take a chance, let them risk, allow them to fail, give them challenges, stretch them, believe in them, grow them, resource them…they are the future please make sure they’re not just sitting around for their day to come. 

Today’s Leadership Challenge: Go to lunch with a Next Gen leader and listen to their dream.

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Mac Lake


My passion is multiplying multipliers

3 responses to Young Leaders Waiting for Permission

  1. Great thoughts, Mac. As I was reading through the list, I was thinking, “yeah, but we gotta encourage current leaders to recognize, empower and release them!” So I’m glad you ended with that thought. Giving them room to fail is tough, but necessary.

    From my experience, this can happen at ANY age. Natural leaders move, change careers and find new churches. Age doesn’t matter – it can still be hard for a leader to find his place in a new ministry context. Thanks for the encouragement.

  2. Great words. We certainly need to be constantly reminded that we need to take risks with young leaders. As you say, most the time they start off failing, and that’s just part of the learning process, which makes empowering them scary. But, I don’t know of any greater need in any organization than the need for strong leaders constantly being raised up. Without a new supply, growth is impossible, so we have to take that risk.

  3. I am one of those young leaders. I have a passion to lead, make a difference, use my talents and skills for the kingdom of God. I was doing everything I could to to prepare and equip my leadership yet found myself in a situation where I was extremely limited. The calling of God was crystal clear, I finally started believing in myself but still couldn’t do much.

    Mac Lake isn’t just writing about theory here. He and his Launch Network believed in us and are pouring into to us so that we CAN do all that God created us to. Great insights that I for one know is much more than just fluff. Thankful for you Mac

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