The (Positive) Pressure of Being in Charge
For some young leaders, being in charge of an event, a system, a group of employees, volunteers, etc. is difficult and gives them the nervous sweats. For other young leaders, who feel they have been training and studying others of influence, whether over them or in theory, they can’t wait for the day to arrive so they can prove their leadership chops. Whether you, or someone this reminds you of, fits into the “nervous sweats”or the “leadership chops” category, there is boldness and true leadership in taking off the training wheels and letting a young leader feel the pressure of being in charge. One I feel is beneficial for all involved in the development of young leaders today.
I was just talking to a young leader today, who was nervous because one of his peers is about to be thrust into feeling this positive pressure. He told me he, “Just still wasn’t fully comfortable in letting this person take the reigns of an event on his own.” He even had proof because one of the communications sent out by the young leader, feeling the positive pressure of being in charge, had some visual errors in it. His reasoning was sound: this doesn’t just reflect back on the young leader who is getting the chance to be in charge, it reflects back on him, on the people above him (in this case, me) and, the department we lead. I wavered for a minute. Maybe he was right. I didn’t want to look unprofessional, unprepared, or untrained.
Then I remembered what I was doing as a leader. First, all of those things were just about me. Not about training others as leaders and making disciples. Second, I had already had an argument in my head that young leaders needed to have that weight of (positive) pressure put on them that can only truly be attained by being in charge. Yes, ultimately I would still be held responsible for how they handle and react to leading. But, if I cared enough about them to help develop them, I needed to realize what they could learn from the following concepts happening while they are in charge will be worth it to their leadership goals. And, other leaders and I helping the young leader having the (positive) pressure of being in charge, will also learn these concepts because we have the (positive) pressure of being in charge of him or her.
Why Feeling the (Positive) Pressure of Being in Charge Will Make Your Young Leader Better:
Preparation- When a young leader feels the pressure or weight of being in charge, they will prepare like no ones business. They will make a back-off plan. They will create a timeline. And an outline. They will wake up in the middle of the night with an idea to make something better. They will wake up early in the morning to change a sentence in their speech or directions to make it clearer for the audience. The point is, when they are in charge, they will prepare knowing there isn’t anyone to rescue them if things are not going their way. They will plan with every contingency in place. They will follow the example of the leaders they have learned from and prepare like them.
Asking For Help- They will realize why they are often asked for advice or input, or brought into brainstorming meetings. They will learn that leaders ask other leaders for help. Whether this is in peer form, volunteer form, or from those higher up the food chain, feeling the pressure of being in charge promotes teamwork. Just because they are in charge does not mean they can’t get help from those around them. If you have a young leader who shows the tendency of a “solo” hero, let him or her be put in charge of something so he or she can see that asking for help is the sign of a great leader, not a needy one.
Mentorship- More than just asking others for help, being put in charge pushes the need and creates a desire for mentorship. Yes, their 22 year old roommate thinks giving everyone a fidget spinner is a great idea, but what does their trusted pastor, employer, or professor think of the idea? Whether the mentor is already involved in some other capacity or not, this will strengthen their relationship and open up topics that were only used in theory beforehand for the young leader. This pressure will create a renewed desire to grow more with their mentor and seek new ones.
Community- Having the pressure of being in charge will help the young leader realize how important bringing people together can be. This includes finding common ground between different sexes, races and viewpoints. It will help them be grateful for the community around them and think about how they continue to build and move it forward.
Responsibility- Every parent, teacher, pastor, etc. in the world wants people around them to be responsible for their actions. “Be the difference you want to see in this world.” “With great power comes great responsibility.” We’ve heard these before. I know hearing them makes you want to get up and move. And watch Spiderman.
Atmosphere- Being put in charge helps you realize each room, hallway, space around you has an atmosphere that you and the leader effects, positive or negative. It gives them the chance to be a thermometer instead of a thermostat. It also makes the young leader care about something in a way they may have not before. It will help them care about how the environment around them feels, how others feel and are being treated, and to want and know they can do something to change it.
Celebration- All of us like to be celebrated,at least a little. When a young leader is put in charge, they get to choose what and who is celebrated. It is an amazing opportunity to thank people that do not always get thanked. We want to be appreciated and recognized, and when a young leader can learn this valuable skill of appreciating and recognizing others early, they will hold on to it and utilize it in all circumstances.
Open Their Eyes- We all want those around us,especially those we are teaching and leading, to see things with their eyes open; to run to clarity and strive for honesty. Being put in charge will open their eyes to small and large details alike, by pressuring the eyes to get wide, to squint and to be rubbed and cleaned of debris. It will help their eyes to see through laughs, through tears, through wonder and through anger. It will open their eyes to demands and possibilities, as well as the ability and desire to want to lead again.
After you give a young leader their next chance to lead, let me know how it goes.