Some organizations claim that they are youth-driven, but led by adults. There are some organizations though that are “for youth, by youth, and with youth”. When young people are given leadership positions and they are empowered and supported, they can bring out their creativity and youthful idealism in fulfilling the role of the leader. Young people in leadership can offer several benefits to the organization.
For one, youth leaders know how to deal with other young people who belong to their generation. Since they belong to their generation, they know the language of young people, the likes, dislikes, and interests of other young people. This is very important in the context of youth ministry. Youth leaders can engage other young people more easily. If the organization’s thrust is mobilizing young people and enabling them to reach out to others, having a youth leader will definitely help achieve such thrust.
Youth leaders have the energy, the humor, and the spirit to achieve goals. As long as these young people believe in what they are doing, they can give 100% of their attention and their time. They are passionate, dedicated, and willing to sacrifice their time just to achieve their avowed goals. Since youth also have fewer responsibilities in life like buying tons of baby milk and diapers, they can devote more time for the organization or ministry they have chosen.
Uhm… well, there are teenagers and young people who are on the hurry to add up their responsibilities in life in exchange of a one night stand. But that’s an altogether different topic that deserves a separate post.Photo above courtesy of 3Rock Youth.Young people who take on leadership positions are trained early to take on bigger and more challenging roles in the future. Youth leaders need assistance when they start fulfilling the leadership roles thrust upon them. They need advice and tips from mentors and advisers. When they implement programs and projects, they learn more about the nature of leadership, how organizations can be run more effectively, how to coordinate with various stakeholders, and how to deal with problems along the way.Youth leaders, however, cannot operate in a vacuum. They need the support of their elders and the other members and followers within the organization. Both elders and youth leaders should work together toward the achievement of goals and the implementation of programs and projects.If youth leaders start thinking that they can do it alone, they fail to draw upon the experience and wisdom of their elders. On the other hand, when elders impose their will on the youth leaders, they fail to draw upon the energy, the idealism and the dedication of the youth. When elders work together with youth leaders, they soon discover the joy of mentoring and they might even feel a little younger.There are also problems that youth leaders are bound to face. Some youth leaders tend to attract these problems more than others.Loneliness. It’s lonely at the top, so goes an old idiom. This is also true in leadership. When you become a leader, you suddenly have access to a lot of information, which you cannot freely share with others. When you believe in a cause and you have committed to certain goals, you have to stand by your commitment no matter what happens. To deal with loneliness, you should have a support group from whom you can get strength for the journey.The High-Brow Syndrome. In relation to loneliness, some people, not just young people, tend to become “high-browed” when they get into leadership positions. A little taste of authority makes them high. Now, this is a very dangerous attitude. The manifestations of this attitude are being snob, unreachable, arrogant, and downright condescending.As a leader, you should be able to connect with your followers and the members of your organization. Without them, there would be no need for you. Christ’s model of leadership is one of a servant. Remember the washing of the disciples’ feet? A leader, therefore, should display humility and servanthood.Burnout. When you become intensely focused in fulfilling your roles and you forget about everything else, beware. You are a candidate for burnout. The human body and the human mind can endure stress and difficulties. Yet, if such stress proceeds for an extended period of time, then the mind and the body might simply break under the pressure. Just imagine that you are a chair that can support weight up to 200 pounds. But if the pressure and weight you carry becomes double up to 400 pounds, then you’d simply break under the pressure.If you are doing everything by yourself, if you feel increasingly tired while doing your role, when you no longer feel joy in doing what you do, then you bet it’s time for you to take a break and approach your leadership from another perspective. You need to make some changes in your leadership style.There is such a thing as delegation, you know. Up to a certain degree, you should be able to say, “If others can do it, then let them do it.” Hahah. Don’t overuse this maxim though or you will also regret it.Procrastination. We are perhaps afflicted with this a lot of times. We postpone a major decision or fail to do an important task. You might always say “later…” or “tomorrow…” Procrastination casts a serious problem on your leadership. When you keep on procrastinating, you run out of time and you’ll end up not doing what you promised to.Financial Problems and Integrity Issues. This is perhaps the largest problem that you might encounter. If this happens and you do not solve it right away, it becomes the largest blot in your otherwise colorful career as a leader. Financial problems had been the waterloo of a number of television evangelist and pastors. Heck, even a US President can get mired in financial problems. The results are devastating. So, if you have access to funds, no matter how small they may be, please ensure transparency. That’s your only protection against possible financial problems.The best solution to these problems is still prevention. Avoid these problems in leadership and do your best to be an effective leader and your followers will always remember you.