The value of one’s life can be measured by how much of that life is given away. Nearing the end of life, we celebrate one’s selfless acts. Title, status, and accolades do not matter. Selfless actions expand our lives outside of just us. If leadership is all about you, at the end of your life everything you taught dies with you. However, when you make leadership about others, your teachings will live through many generations.
Looking in fear on a new generation of leaders is not an uncommon occurrence for more experienced leaders. Comparing themselves to these emerging leaders, seasoned leaders tend to worry that the new generation has more education and better skills than they had at the same age. When the “newbies” come face-to-face with the experienced leaders, it can be intense as they start asking questions that you know you should be asking.
The Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast that aired on August 1, 2014 discusses being a “beyond you leader.” This is a leader who thinks outside of him/herself and outside of their own generation. Empowering those to follow in their footsteps is the selfless avenue they take.
Not threatened by these new leaders, beyond you leaders see newbies as opportunities; opportunities to use their influence for the goal of bettering the organization and all the leaders that surround them. Truth be told, everyone knows that the accomplishments of a true leader are shown in the number of leaders they raise.
We all get prideful at times. We all fear competition at one time or another. We all have schedules that keep us busy. Investing time will not happen if it’s not intentional. Stanley provides 3 real solutions to becoming a beyond you leader while, simultaneously, strengthening the next-in-line generation of leaders.
First, he recommends that you make as few decisions as possible. Engage with next generation leaders by providing support in the form of a “you decide” mentality. Let them take the reins and step back a bit. As leaders begin to climb the organizational ladder, they’ll be held accountable for more things; things about which they may not know anything. For this reason, it’s important that seasoned leaders step aside allowing the next generation to lead. It’s a great time for newbies to learn their limitations and exercise delegating responsibility. As they are eager to learn via on-the-job training, Millennials will respond well to this idea. They want to make an impact, sharing ideas and contributing to the team. Turn them loose!
Stanley, then, suggests that you work for your team. Quit worrying about how they can serve you and focus your energy on serving them. They need to see you in action. Don’t be afraid to ask them how you can help, and then follow through by doing what they ask. The influence you provide will be invaluable.
Lastly, Mr. Stanley recommends that you empty your cup. Your cup should never be full. It’s your job to pour into the next generation of leaders, and you’ll be surprised by how much you know once you start talking. Your knowledge and expertise will spill out of you quite easily, and this next generation of leaders will reap major benefits. You won’t be able to control what they do with the information you give them, but you’ll still be doing what you should be doing.
A word of caution about beyond you leaders. Don’t wait to become one! If you don’t start right now, you probably won’t start at all. Procrastination kills. If you don’t become a beyond you leader, you’ll begin to think that you achieved your success based upon information not helping. Hoarding stalls influence while sharing multiplies influence.
John C. Maxwell says it well: ”True success comes only when every generation continues to develop the next generation.”
Exemplify what it means to be a beyond you leader and for generations to come, beyond leaders will emerge.
How will you be intentionally selfless in developing the next generation of leaders?