Good leadership is hard. So many days I get it wrong more than I get it right. Lately I have been wrestling with my ability to empower others and help them grow in their leadership. Because I am still a young leader, sometimes I hoard the leadership responsibilities for a variety of reasons rather than building into and encouraging others. Here is one of my journal ramblings on the subject:
Immature or insecure leaders are reluctant to take risks on up-and-coming leaders. By taking risks I mean letting the younger leader handle a situation that may be new for them, an area where they lack experience. The older leader is afraid to take a risk with a young leader for a variety of reasons:
1) They are still trying to prove their own leadership worth/they need the opportunity to show their own value.
2) They don’t want to fail. If the young leader fails, the older leader will need to step up and assume responsibility and sometimes they are not ready to put their own reputation on the line.
3) They don’t recognize the value, trust, and respect they would build with the young leader by taking the risk on him/her. They are not mature enough to see the value of mentoring.
By not giving the young leader a chance the older leader is indirectly telling him that he’s not qualified, that he isn’t confident in his leadership potential. And young leaders need to know you see their potential.
Now, I know there are plenty of situations where you can’t hand something off to a younger leader, but I would challenge us all to evaluate and take some risks occasionally.
Do you have some success stories or some not-so-successful stories of investing in others? Please share!