I love leaders, especially next generation leaders-- specifically those who are currently in their 20's and 30's. I’m incredibly hopeful, excited, and expectant regarding this next wave of leaders. Expectant that they are going to take the reins and move things forward like no other generation before them.
A few reasons why I've got great confidence in the next generation of leaders:
1. They have passion for God. Everyone seems to think we've lost a generation of Jesus followers in our country, but after seeing the Hollywood Bowl packed in L.A. for a Hillsong United worship night; the 45,000 college students gathered at Passion Conference back in January; Chris Tomlin and friends selling out Madison Square Garden; the 20,000+ students who gather at Urbana every other year; the 20,000 who were just in Kansas City for the IHOP One Thing gathering in January; and the thousands gathering at Catalyst, Jesus Culture, Willow Creek’s Leadership Summit. This instills confidence that the next generation of leaders love Jesus and are passionate about serving Him and making Him known for their generation. Read Gabe Lyons’ latest book "The Next Christians" for further explanation and clarity.
2. They're willing to work together. Twenty and 30 somethings are more willing to collaborate than any other generation before. They trust each other. Really. They see collaboration as the starting point, not some grandiose vision of teamwork that is far off in the distance. Collaboration is now the norm.
The next wave of leaders have global visions way beyond generations who have existed before.
3. They don’t care who gets the credit. For the next generation -- it's less about who, and more about what and why. The next wave doesn't care who gets the credit. It's more about "what's right" instead of focusing on "who's right."
4. Generosity and sharing are the new currencies of our culture. In business, relationships, networks, platforms, technology, distribution, content delivery, etc. Open source is the new standard. This new wave of leaders has tools/resources such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr, Instagram, and tons more social media tools that make influencing much more readily available.
5. They understand the holistic responsibility of influence. They are willing to connect all of life together -- faith, compassion, charity, work, career, church, family, friends. It’s all connected. There is less compartmentalizing of life among the next generation of leaders.
6. Authenticity wins. Trust is incredibly important. Leaders won't have followers going forward unless they trust them and see that they are authentic and real. Authenticity is not only important to the next generation, it's a requirement.
7. They're not willing to wait. Young leaders are ambitious and passionate about making a difference now. They are not necessarily willing to wait their turn. They want to influence now. Evidence of this is the explosion of church planters in the last 4 to 5 years, along with social innovation and social entrepreneurs.
8. They see social justice as the norm. Leaders who care about the poor, lean into causes, and see the social gospel as a key ingredient to following Christ are no longer seen as the exception. Young Leaders see taking care of the poor and sharing the Gospel as BOTH crucial to the advancement of the Church and of God's Kingdom. Twenty-somethings are and will continue to become more balanced in their pursuit of both. They don't have to be one or the other.
9. They seek wisdom and mentors. Overall, I sense that 20- and 30-somethings are highly willing to be mentored, and are hungry for wisdom from older leaders around them. Those of us Gen X'ers tend to think we have it all figured out. Millennials and Gen Y are assumed to have it all figured out because they have so many tools and technology at their fingertips. But from what I've experienced, they still are seeking wisdom, just as much as any other generation before them.
10. They have a 'change the world' mentality. The next wave of leaders have global visions way beyond generations who have existed before. They truly believe they can make a difference, have an impact, and build significance, regardless of resources, organizational help, team, and overall scale. This kind of vision inspires, and also forces leaders to work together, hence #2.
And how about you? Are you excited or concerned about the next wave of leaders? Let us know in the comments section.
Brad Lomenick is the former president of Catalyst and author of the book H3 Leadership: Be Humble. Stay Hungry. Always Hustle.