How Are You Investing In The Next Generation Of Leaders?

The vision of a leader is important. Our vision guides us and creates a sense of direction. Once we’ve established this, we’ve got to move on.

Move on to investing in the next generation of leaders. They’re the ones coming up behind you. Ready to take your place.

Don’t worry though. This is normal in leadership. There’s always going to be a replacement for you. Your job is to invest in them.

Puzzle pieces saying Invest In Me

Image by Darcy McMarcy

Why Invest In The Next Generation Of Leaders?

This may sound crazy to you if you’ve been raised in the old-school of leadership. Where everyone is out for themselves or the company only.

Leadership is changing. Leadership is moving towards creating new leaders and giving them the tools to take the reigns. Get ready to pass the leadership baton.

As emerging leaders, you’ve got to be mindful this will be the end game of leadership. To raise up the next generation leader.

Even though this may be far away, there’s no reason not to prepare for it by investing in those below you.

How To Invest In The Next Generation Of Leaders

Now you know the why of investing in others. It’s important to grow the next generation. Someone invested in you, now it’s time to invest in the leaders coming behind you.

You can invest in the next generation by:

Spending time teaching them: Take an hour or two of your week and set it aside to invest in the ones you see who are eager to grow. Michael Hyatt did this when he accepted Jeff Goins invitation to lunch.

You could do this by taking one or two prospective leaders out to lunch or to grab a cup of Starbucks coffee. Open up to them and share your insights. Let them know you’ve gone through trials and tribulations and there’s a good chance they will as well.

Sharing great resources with them: After you’ve finished reading a great book, pass it on to someone you feel would greatly benefit from the book. Maybe it’s paying their way to a leadership conference that will change their lives.

Find different ways to pour resources into their lives. Let them know someone is there for them and wanting to see them grow.

Giving them opportunities to stretch: Many young leaders, as you know, have doubts about leading. One of the best ways you can invest in their future is to give them the chance to prove their leadership ability.

Look for tasks or goals that will stretch them beyond what they think they can do. Hand off the project and let them know you believe they can complete it.

As they stretch, they’re earning the confidence of what it’s like to go beyond their beliefs. Help them thrive by giving them opportunities.

Question: What other ways can you invest in the next generation? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • These are all great tips. Definitely give them opportunities to stretch, but give them freedom to fail. Freedom to fail gives them confidence to move. Often people are frozen by fear of failure so they never even try. You can learn from your mistakes and you can learn from success, but you’ll never learn anything from doing nothing.

    • Love it Brady. Failures will happen as you lead. It’s inevitable. Failing while you’re still growing helps us realize it’s not the end. Thanks for adding to the conversation!

  • How about showing young leaders what real leadership looks like. There is certainly a dearth of great leadership in the world today. Young leaders need good examples.

    • Great addition Brandon. Without great role models, the next generation of leaders will not lead well. How are you being a good example to those you’re leading?

  • Great post Joe. When we are leading people it is huge to give them freedom to fail at the same time avoiding fatal failure. We can accomplish this by letting them stretch slowly. Some personalities will run with a little room and some have to be pushed out of the nest. Be aware of which type of person you are working with. Thanks for touching on this topic it is a huge aspect of leading well.

    • My pleasure Zech. It’s something every leader needs to be reminded of once in awhile.

  • A mentor once told me that a leaders primary mission is to find and develop other leaders. Without selfless leaders (mentors), the system would collapse due to the lack of leaders being raised up from the next generation.

    • Charles, that was a wise mentor. Everything we do should be focused around accomplishing what needs to be done and developing those around us. How have you applied that principle to your life?

  • Great ideas here Joe – for me, it has been important to be for others what I wish I had myself. Easier said than done, for sure!

    • Jon, great point. Sometimes we haven’t had others invest in us. It’s our opportunity to do for others what wasn’t done for us.

  • Look for mentoring opportunities – especially when you see promise in someone – and make the first move to foster those.

    • Excellent idea Tom. Mentoring helps us pour into others on a regular basis.

  • Joseph, I take the more practical route, walk with them when I have the opportunity. Leadership is spelt out as HOPE: Honouring the Opportunity to spur on People to Excellence. You can read more from my latest post… Thanks for taking on this important discussion.

    • Kimunya, I love how you spell out HOPE. It relays the message that people are important and we’re there to help them achieve their success.

  • Regularly talk to team members about their future. Encourage them to take next steps (ie. MBA). Invite them to shadow you.

  • One point I’ll add to the discussion is the ability to think critically. This generation of leaders need thinkers who are able to discern right and wrong as they mature into effective leaders. The more seasoned mentor could engage in Socratic questioning to help the young leader come up with his/her answers instead of finding the ‘ultimate’ solution.

    • Love it Paul. Engaging the mind and helping pull out the thought process is something young leaders need.

  • Investing in the next generation isn’t easy at the start – the first step is to get over the personal crisis that occurs when you realise that someone is going to replace you. The irony is, when we raise up leaders they don’t diminish our leadership capacity but actually increase it.

    • There’s truth that it’s scary to know someone’s going to replace you. It’s like working yourself out of a job.

    • Jackson Jacky

      Yes you are right, if you are Investing in the proximate age isn’t effortless at the outset, the original walk is to gain above the individual crisis that appears whereas you realise that somebody is going to supplant you. The satire is, during we promote up foremans they don’t alleviate our helm qualification yet really aggravate it.

  • Ira Bedenbaugh

    Lately I have been able to see the impact of investing the next generation of leaders. My father has brain cancer and I have been amazed at the number of “young” men that have come by to visit him. As each one visits I remember the mornings he would have breakfast with each one of them and wonder about the impact he was making. Today I see “young” men who are leaders in their churches, leaders in their communities and most importantly leaders for their families.
    On those days I wonder if I am making an impact investing in young leaders all I have to do is look at my father.

    • Ira, I’m so sorry to hear about your father. I’ll be praying for peace and God’s will over the situation.

      However, it’s great to hear that he’s lived a life that has had a meaningful impact on those he led. To have them come visit with him during this time shows he’s done something right.