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3 Challenges that Every Young Leader Faces

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Young leaders face all kinds of challenges. But there are 3 challenges in particular that all young leaders face early on. If not handled well these three challenges can lead to stress, anxiety, insecurity and frustration. Add all of that up and you’ve got a recipe designed to not only undermine your current leadership role but keep you from growing as a leader.

1. Leading People who are Older than You

It can be very intimidating as a young leader to be given the task to lead people who are the age of your parents or grandparents. The Apostle Paul understood this leadership challenge when he wrote to a young leader by the name of Timothy:

“Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” I Timothy 4:12

Paul challenges Timothy to realize that he is personally responsible for how he behaves as a young leader regardless of what others may think. That he is responsible for what happens in him as a young leader, regardless of what is happening to him. The best approach I’ve seen young leaders take is to take on a posture of humility and then deliver on what they say they are going to do. In other words, produce. Let your play on the field do your talking for you. There is no faster way to earn respect and trust than to do what you say you’re going to do, follow through, and show yourself trustworthy.

2. A Shallow Leadership Well

Often young leaders don’t know what to do because they haven’t done it before. Leadership isn’t learned in a classroom it’s learned by leading. The unfortunate thing is young leaders come with an inherent lack of experience. And the only way to get leadership experience is to lead. But you can deepen your leadership well and, “go to school,” so to speak on others experience. Listening to leadership podcasts, reading blogs on leadership, reading books on leadership, getting in a leadership coaching network, surrounding yourself with other leaders, get face-time with experienced leaders ask questions and then just listen. Get as much “leadership” poured into you as you can as a young leader. These are all things you can do as a young leader to deepen your leadership well.

3. Impatience

Young leaders simply don’t have enough “time in” to understand the value of timing. I get it. I too used to get frustrated about the whole, “finding joy in the journey,” thing. I wanted to make a first down, score a touchdown and win! There’s nothing wrong with ambition, a love for progress, and a deep desire to move people from where they are to where you know God wants them to be. But the right decision, at the right time, executed right way; by the right person is the right thing. Impatience has a tendency to mess all that up.

Interested in learning more about Young Leaders in the Church? Check out these resources:

1. How to Identify Young Leaders in the Church

2. How to Develop Young Leaders

3. Leadership Lessons I Wish I Understood as a Young Leader

Photo Credit: NikonGirl1969 via Compfight cc


Posted in Leadership

One Response to “3 Challenges that Every Young Leader Faces”

  1. ryan peterson November 18, 2014 at 7:46 am #

    Well said Paul, appreciate the wisdom in your words, and the timing of the article. And I love that you are living these out not just talking about them, this comes from not knowing you too long but seeing it shine through in obvious ways.

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