Newsletter 626 – Youthful Observations About Innovative Leadership

Relevant Magazine 2Some of you may remember that Relevant is one of my favorite magazines. Written mostly for people in their twenties (probably I’m one of their oldest readers), Relevant is described as a publication “on faith, culture and intentional living.” It includes interviews and reviews of music, books, and movies that aren’t part of my world, along with frequently insightful articles about living and contemporary issues. It assumes that its millennial readers are determined to “reject apathy” and make a difference in the world without sitting around waiting for someone else to initiate change.

Consider a two-page article on leadership by a young pastor named Aaron Loy (July/August issue). Simple and basic, the article gives only five traits of innovative leaders. But these are good reminders that apply to any of us:

  1. Learn to follow first. Loy writes that “the idea of leading can sound pretty sexy. Aspiring to lead can play to our pride, but following develops humility…. Learning how to follow is an important part of becoming a leader worth following.” Besides, following is a biblical principle (1 Corinthians 11:1).
  2. Find a mentor. Even the very best leaders at the highest levels of companies or organizations often have coaches and mentors to help them learn and improve. As a side note, the September/October issue of Relevant has an article titled “Why You Need a Mentor” regardless of your age. I have several mentors, all of whom challenge me and speak into my life.
  3. Finish what you start. Creative and passionate people tend to jump from one idea or project to another. This breaks trust with others who expect follow through and do not get it. Good leaders, beginners and old pros, do all they can to complete what they begin.
  4. Decide what you want to be (or do) and act accordingly. In the long run, “you will be who you have decided to be, whether actively or passively… Your life will be a reflection of the decisions you make over time”.
  5. Don’t wait for permission. Get going on your plans as soon as you can. Dreaming and talking about the future can distract many of us from taking steps to get things done.

What do you think of this list, written for young adults? Does it apply to you like it does to me? What would you add? Please comment.

  1. “Don’t wait for permission.”
    We geriatrics remember the generation of “leaders” over organizations that recruited us, made us raise our own support, then sent us to go fulfill their vision or be fired.
    When we saw bigger opportunities than theirs, or bigger needs than theirs, THEY NEVER GAVE US PERMISSION.
    Those of us who dared to do otherwise were fired or sent to get psychological counselling that we knew we did not need.
    Those leaders have all died and gone to collect their considerable reward, leaving us to ponder how and why we ever believed in them, feeling that we have lost some of our own potential reward.
    Do not feel sorry for us. Just do not wait for permission. If you launch an organization, then design it to empower more than to demand submission.

      • Edmund Chan
      • September 10th, 2015

      Develop a permission-granting organization rather than a permission-withholding organization. The former is about empowerment; the latter, about control.

    • Edmund Chan
    • September 10th, 2015

    Think Big, Start small, Build Deep.
    Having the courage to think big, the humility to start small and the wisdom to build deep.

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