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

In part one, Webb (see 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.


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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