Monthly Archives: March 2016

How to Develop Young Leaders by Keith Webb (Part 2)

In part one, Webb (see http://www.creativeresultsmanagement.com/) introduced essential factors for developing young leaders, building off of the “little-much” principle of Jesus:

Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. Luke 16:10

How to Use the Little-Much Principle

The beauty of the Little-Much Principle is that you can use it in any situation. There are four big points to developing leaders this way:

1. Give small tasks.  Allow for mistakes of little consequence. Just as small wins build on each other, so will small tasks.

2. Watch for internal challenges.  The task is often just the vehicle to internal learning. It’s like the bun on a hamburger; it’s there to hold all the goodies inside. Ask the young leader to reflect on his or her experience. How were they challenged – not with the task – but challenged internally?

  • What influence / authority / integrity / relational challenges did you face?
  • What frustrations did you experience?
  • How did you respond? What was the process for you? How do you evaluate your response?

3. Provide diverse opportunities.  For young leaders the key to success is to say “yes” to diverse opportunities, roles, and tasks.   Focus comes later. Diverse tasks will provide more internal challenges than sticking with the comfortable.

4. Give more.  If the young leader completes the task and “passes” the internal challenge, provide another task with increased responsibility and challenge. If the young leader doesn’t, then give another task at the same level. Perhaps this leader needs some extra coaching as well.

One of the hardest things about the Little-Much Principle is that the mature leader is often just as impatient as the young leader. We want results. Organizational results that translate to sales, market share, and bonuses. We have as much trouble focusing on the internal development of a young leader as they do. By focusing on the internal development of a leader using the Little-Much Principle, we can help young leaders to shape character values in order to develop their strengths, character, skills, and identify their calling.

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So, what has been your experience in working with young leaders? What stands out to you as most prominent for ensuring healthy development when a person is in their 20’s and 30’s in order for them to thrive and sustain their leadership contribution? How would you have desired to be developed when you were young?

Next blog: The Learning Cycle

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How to Develop Young Leaders by Keith Webb (Part 1)

Master coach, Keith Webb (see http://www.creativeresultsmanagement.com/), recently wrote this helpful article that will introduce the next series of blogs on the topic of Leading with a Developmental Bias.

Young leaders are often anxious to get into action. They feel prepared and ready to make a difference. Yet, the workplace is littered with the wreckage caused by those with authority but not wisdom to lead.  Leader development is about going in before going out. The Little-Much Principle will help you develop young (and old) leaders.

Young leaders want to concentrate their efforts on developing skills and accomplishing something of significance.

I knew a 24 year-old who was frustrated with his job because his company wouldn’t put him in a role where he could focus on his strengths and passions. He felt he was more capable than his manager. And he thought he should be in charge of not only the team, but the larger work group. He had been with the company only 3 months!

This isn’t a story about one millennial’s sense of entitlement. It happened 30 years ago. This story is repeated every generation because of a common misunderstanding of how leaders develop.

Leader development researcher, J. Robert Clinton, found that young leaders need to have broad experience; do many different types of tasks; and work on inner character values in order to develop their strengths, character, skills, and identify their calling.

Missing early development in a leader’s life, Clinton found, often leads to stalled development, crisis, or unfulfilled potential as a leader.

Jesus’ Little-Much Principle

Clinton points to Jesus, arguably one of the best at developing leaders. Jesus began with a group of hot-headed fishermen, a socially-scorned tax collector, and a few other people from the margins of society. After just three years of working with them, these leaders went on to change the world.

Fortunately, Jesus left us His principle of leader development. Here it is:

 Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. Luke 16:10

Young leaders feel ready for big, fast, and significant.  Jesus took a different approach. Jesus viewed leader development as more about who the leader is rather than what he or she can do.

Jesus focused on the internal development of the leader – going in before going out. Because who you are is how you will lead.

What internal development is needed? Young leaders must develop:

  • Their influence
  • Submission to authority
  • Personal integrity
  • Relational abilities
  • Conflict management
  • Character

The early, small lessons learned in these areas will form the foundation on which a leader stands. Later, when the stakes are high and the pressure is great, the leader who was faithful with little will most likely succeed with much.

Next blog: How to Develop Young Leaders, Part 2

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Jesus, the Caring Leader, Summary

The Navigator’s Core Leadership Model affirms that a caring leader will know, provide for, and protect those being led. What if a leader is not naturally a care giving person by gifting or heart inclination?  A leader not gifted in caring can actually do more harm than good if forced to do so.  How must such a leader care?

Every Christ-like leader will ENSURE that those being led have the leadership needed to thrive regardless of the leader’s competence. Within the body of Christ and eventually on every team, there will be people with the strengths and spiritual gifts to provide what others need.  So, a given leader may not be the best person to do the caring but will make sure that it happens.

An interesting development has taken place in recent years, at least in certain evangelical circles, where there does not appear to be an urgent concern for the eternal destiny of people. Those who do not claim to be followers of Jesus appear to be living an OK life.  Unless tragedy strikes, Jesus followers can be led to think that the smiles and relatively high standard of living of non-believers indicates that life is fine.  Fervor for evangelism has seemed to wane.  However, what could be a more important act of concern than for the eternal welfare of people?

The second to last discourse of Jesus was to His disciple, Peter, in John 21:15-19 when he told him to feed and tend to His followers. Ensuring that the foundation laid for this new faith community would continue was a priority for Jesus.  The “good seed” that had taken root needed to be nurtured.  Caring for people is of vital importance.  The last discourse of Jesus (Acts 1:6-11) addressed the other aspect of ultimate care for people by communicating the Gospel message.  Surely Jesus modeled a core leadership value of caring.

The Apostle Paul understood this care value and wrote so clearly to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20:28-31 “to keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers and to be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.” Intentional caring as a leader is not an option.

Both Jesus and Paul recognized a dual role of caring, for individuals and community. We may start with a genuine concern for individuals, but leaders also need to learn how to care for the community or flock.  Leadership is more than thinking about a person—there is the concern for corporate good as well.  If you can’t think beyond the individual you may put the flock at risk. Deciding what’s good for the whole can feel like betrayal if you most naturally care for individuals.  Sometimes the good of the many outweighs the good for the one.

In summary, a caring leader will seek to know those being led by invested focused time together.  This caring leader will seek to provide for those being led by ensuring health spiritually, physically, emotionally, relationally, and in all other ways.  Also, care is shown by protection from the Enemy, from hostile people, and from oneself.  Leaders cannot provide all the care needed personally or through delegation, and that is why perhaps the most caring function a leader like Jesus can do is to pray.  We need look no further than Jesus’ prayer in John 17 to see the way He cared through praying.  May we be known most of all for our regular, disciplined, and informed prayer life for those we have the privilege to serve as a leader.

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