The Millennials are here. Millennials will make up approximately 75% of the workforce in 2025. As we watch this generation enter the workforce, many are now stepping into leadership roles. This is a trend we can only expect to continue. These young leaders are able to quickly provide fresh ideas and are eager to see results. Many organizations and ministries are going to greatly benefit from these young leaders.
If you are a young leader, there is much that you bring to the table. However, you, like me, are not perfect. And you, like me, have much to learn. You are probably not surprised on either account. In fact, you are probably eager to grow as a leader because you know that it is needed.
In the spirit of learning and growing, let’s looks at four common mistakes that young leaders make, but can avoid:
1. Being impatient
This generation of leaders is accustomed to immediacy. In their work, they tend not to do well waiting patiently for results. As Good to Great taught us, this impatience may not be best for long-term success.
2. Failing to see value in older generations
Right now, the Millennials have a unique opportunity to work with several generations at once. They think differently and they work differently. Some of these differences can frustrate young leaders. However, it is a significant error not to try to understand, learn from, and value the older generations.
3. Not treating those who have more knowledge as more knowledgeable
Many young leaders feel the need to prove themselves. They want to have all of the answers. They want to be the most knowledgeable. But as most young leaders know, this is often not the case. Young leaders need to remember that leading a team that is more knowledgeable than themselves in various areas does not demonstrate weakness but strength. It is in this position that many great leaders strive to be. And they should lead these people by recognizing them for who they are, more knowledgeable team members who can contribute at a high level.
4. Remaining task-oriented
Most young leaders are not too far removed from a task-oriented role, where technical skills were an absolute must for success. Young leaders can struggle with the transition from a role that requires technical skills to a role that requires more conceptual skills. Whether they are afraid of overburdening their team, losing prominence, or simply relinquishing control, many young leaders struggle to delegate. Unintentionally, they place hindrances on their leadership.
Young leaders can be great additions to organizations and ministries. There are significant upsides to placing young men and women in leadership roles. And with continuous learning and development, they can become the leaders that they desire to be.
Art Rainer is Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and cofounder of Rainer Publishing. He is the author of several books, Raising Dad and Simple Life.