You measure the value of one’s life by how much time they give away. The title, status, or accolades one achieves is not celebrated at the end of life; rather it’s the selflessness we admire. Selflessness makes life much bigger than an individual. If you practice a self-centered leadership style, your teachings will die with you. If you understand the mark of a true leader and focus on others, your life’s work will live far beyond your time on earth.
It’s no secret that seasoned leaders tend to look back on their work and then look forward to the leaders emerging today, fearful that these new leaders may have more talent, education, and innovative ideas. It can be terrifying to be faced with these new generation leaders who are asking questions of you that you should be asking them.
There’s a great reference in an episode of The Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast. In this particular podcast that aired on August 1, 2014, Stanley talks about being a “beyond you leader.” He explained that someone who’s a beyond you leader thinks about others and generations outside of his/her own. They aim to empower others selflessly, with no fear.
They aim to empower others selflessly, with no fear.
Beyond you leaders do not see emerging leaders as a threat. Beyond you leaders see the selfless opportunity in working with emerging leaders. They are able to leverage their influence which, in turn, enhances the organization and leaders around them. We all know, after all, that the merit of an honest leader is in how many others grow into leadership because of them.
Because we all tend to be busy, fear something, or just have too much pride, investing doesn’t come easy. We have to invest on purpose. Andy gives us 3 practical ways to become a beyond you leader, increasing the strength of your next generation leaders.
Make as few decisions as possible.
Give the next generation leaders some power by letting them make decisions. Use as little of your authority as possible. When leaders start climbing the organizational ladder, they take on responsibilities that may, initially, know nothing about. This is the exact reason the seasoned leaders should make less decisions. Leaders who don’t know their strengths and weaknesses, delegating when necessary, will be too involved – taking up time that could be better used in other areas.
Don’t be afraid to unleash the Millennials. They’ll be thrilled to contribute, create, and have a true place to make a difference.
Work for your team.
It may take a little practice, but you’ll see great things when you being to serve your team instead of waiting for them to serve you. The next generation needs what you have. Ask them how you can help, and mean it. Be sincere in your asking, and follow through with their requests.
Empty your cup.
As a leader, your main objective should be to share knowledge. Pour out your expertise. It’s true that: we don’t know how much we know until we’re talking to someone who doesn’t know what we know. (That’s a mouthful, but it makes sense. I promise.) Look for opportunities to share what you know with next generation leaders. You’re not responsible for what they retain, but you can offer the knowledge anyway. (For more on this very topic, check out the related article: Reverse Your Stagnation with Reverse Mentoring.)
A word of caution: You don’t have to wait to become a beyond you leader, no matter whether you’re a seasoned leader or a Millennial leader. If you wait to begin, chances are that you won’t start – ever. The land of later is where well-meant intentions die. Later has a reputation of building bad habits, making you think that you got to where you are because you can find information, versus the truth of the matter – your servitude elevated you. Hoarding information will stall influence. Sharing will always increase your influence.
“True success comes only when every generation continues to develop the next generation.”
– John C. Maxwell
Give the next generation a good model of a beyond you leader and each generation will emulate the like for generations to come.
Ponder this: How will you intentionally and selflessly help to develop the next generation of leaders?