The opportunity to coach and encourage the leaders who come behind us requires us to communicate openly and effectively. Effective communication includes the ability to listen to the thoughts and ideas of others without becoming defensive. While language barriers and cultural differences can make communication a challenge, having the heart to add value to emerging and potential leaders can supersede all barriers. One of the most powerful steps we can take as leaders is to commit to developing a leadership culture where new leaders feel accepted and valued. David Osborne, who serves as a campus pastor with his wife Lydia, once shared this observation about his mentoring relationship with me. He quipped, “I know that some of my ideas were absolutely crazy and impractical, but Bishop always listened to me like I knew what I was talking about!” We had a great laugh over that, but I was intentional about listening to David’s ideas and I learned from them. Together we have developed a culture where established and emerging leaders serve side by side with great love for each other.
Determine to listen to potential leaders and when appropriate help them navigate the sometimes troubled waters of life and business. Ask them their thoughts and ideas about the decisions that are being discussed. Find ways to infuse their thoughts, ideas, and perspectives into your company’s leadership culture or nonprofit organization. One day you will discover that you have increased the longevity of your vision by incorporating younger, emerging leaders into the company.
I literally can already see leadership arising from two generations after me and hopefully before it’s all over I can raise the next three generations in the organizations I lead.
Keep leading and keep including others,
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