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How to Attract Young Leaders to Your Organization


I am a Track and Field Coach and in this area of work we have a special group of judges called "Red Coats." They manage and officiate all track meets and yes wear a special red jacket. Unfortunately, this group's average age is close to 65 or older. In the next decade or so, I have no answer to who will take over this important job.  The post below is important for this group and any group that desires to continue on in health and growth. For this to happen, young leaders need to be identified, recruited, and developed to accept responsibility and lead.

Originally posted by Brad Lomenick

Let’s face it- young leaders are the future of your organization. Whether you like it or not, they will soon take over and be running the show. Your show. My show. If you aren’t attracting young talent, then the days are numbered for your influence and the legacy of your organization.

So why are there certain organizations and certain leaders who always seem to attract younger leaders to their team? Whether a pastor, entrepreneur, CEO or non-profit Executive Director, there are certain leaders, certain teams and certain organizations that EVERY young and ambitious leader wants to be a part of.

What is it about THIS leader and the organization they lead that attracts young leaders? Such a draw that young guns are willing to jump on board with them and storm the castle. Regardless of pay, structure, environment, city, setting, or future opportunities, young leaders want to be around these types of leaders and be a part of what they are doing.

You want young leaders on your team? Here are a few KEYS I think young leaders are drawn to:

1. Humility, combined with incredible passion and skill. Realizing it’s not about you. Jim Collins writes about this as the key characteristic of a level 5 leader.

2. Unwavering commitment to reaching their desired audience and accomplishing the mission. Know the hill they are climbing and willing to fight to get to the top.

3. The IT factor - hard to explain, but easy to spot. Young leaders can sense it and want to be tied to leaders with IT.

4. Collaboration and not competition. A leader who celebrates others’ victories along with their own.

5. Willing to give over responsibility and authority, vs. a “wait your turn” mentality. This kind of perspective and organizational culture will allow young leaders to lead – given they are qualified and can handle it.

6. Authenticity. They keep it real. Young leaders clamor towards authentic and honest leaders.

7. Open to change. This is a big deal. If you as a leader are not open to change, no one worth their salt will probably be willing to follow you, especially younger leaders. (thanks to Shinabarger on this one)

8. Can have at least a little fun. Like attracts like. It’s a reality= regardless of age, demographic, and style. The next generation wants a family environment that is fun and experiential.

9. Confident risk taking. Passionately create a culture that takes risks, allows for failure, and thinks outside the box.

10. BIG vision. Young leaders want to change the world, and want to follow leaders who think BIG and dream big.

11. Hustle and Hungry. The next generation expects you to be beside them in the trenches, not in the corner office sipping on Spritzers. Hustle and hungry, not arrogant and entitled. Besides your team, not out in front of them.

12. BEST at what they do. Regardless of industry or profession or organization, young leaders want to be part of a culture and organization built on excellence with a desire to be great. This is why Google and Facebook and Apple have hundreds of thousands of college graduates clamoring for a chance to be on the team.

What else would you add to the list of those leaders who are drawing young leaders to be part of their teams?