Three Steps to Develop the Rookie Leaders in Your Organization

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Hannah Gronowski explores the importance of developing young leaders, using insights from the story of Gideon in Judges 6.

If you Google the question, “Should I hire a young leader in my company?” you will gather 2.9 million opinions in less than 1 second. This is not a neutral topic.

Yet, it is unbelievably important.

In the book Rookie Smarts, Liz Wiseman shares a striking paradox, When the world is changing quickly, experience can become a curse, trapping us in old ways of doing and knowing, while inexperience can be a blessing, freeing us to improvise and adapt quickly to changing circumstances.

Although a rookie perspective can be developed in leaders of all ages, young leaders naturally bring this fresh, improvisational adaptability. Seasoned leaders would be wise to intentionally develop and build upon these natural qualities in order to maximize the impact young leaders can make in their organizations.

As a young leader who has led in both the church world and the corporate world, I have seen, among my peers, the tragedy of a young leader who is stagnant and the beauty of a young leader who is flourishing.

Every leader, whether old or young, must take ownership of their own development. However, the growth of a young leader increases exponentially in relation to the quality of development they receive.

Time after time, through the pages of Scripture, we see God developing young leaders to accomplish extraordinary feats of valor, courage and victory. He is unafraid to take a chance on young, inexperienced leaders. He sees not only who they are, but who they could be.

Let’s take a look at three practical steps we can take to develop young leaders, drawn from God’s call to Gideon in Judges 6:

1) Call Out Their Potential

When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” Judges 6:12

Gideon was not a warrior, and he knew this about himself. In verse 15, Gideon refers to himself as the least in his family of the weakest clan in Manasseh.

He was not a warrior.

Yet, God did not see him as weak or unqualified. He saw Gideon in light of his potential. He saw the warrior Gideon could be if he was developed, inspired and mentored. God saw a mighty warrior.

And because God saw him as a mighty warrior, this is who Gideon became.

Take the time to develop the young leaders around you and tell them the type of leader you believe they can become. Your words will empower those leaders to go further and do greater things than they previously could have imagined.

2) Invite Them Along

The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” Judges 6:14

God did not only send the Angel of the Lord to tell Gideon what He was about to do. The Angel of the Lord arrived on Gideon’s doorstep to invite him into a grander vision.

Are you hiring and recruiting young leaders into your organization just to fill a role? Or are you inviting them into a compelling vision? Are you communicating to them that you believe they have value to bring to your vision?

According to research from PwC, a major human resources firm, Deloitte’s 2015 Millennial Survey, and internal research from UpWork (oDesk), 77 percent of Millennials have a desire to work at organizations that are doing great things or making an impact.

Young leaders don’t want to simply hear about your vision. They want to be a part of the vision and they want to know you fully expect them to contribute value to that vision.

Invite young leaders into your vision and affirm the value you see in their contributions and involvement.

3) Give Them More Responsibility

The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.” Judges 6:16

Finally, the Lord gives Gideon the last piece of his calling. Gideon is not only to save the nation of Israel, but he is also called to destroy an entire people group.

God was unwavering in His belief in the potential of Gideon. He demonstrated this in the magnitude of the responsibility He entrusted to Gideon.

Do the young people in your organization know the potential you see in them based on the scale of responsibility you have entrusted to them?

A young leader is often limited by the expectations their manager or boss sets for them.

If you want to empower the young leaders in your organization to do excellent work, give them more responsibility and watch them rise to the occasion!

Young leaders are the future of your organization.

Today, commit to develop, empower and unleash the young leaders around you. You may just find a Gideon in your organization who will go on to carry your vision to the world.

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