Go Ye Therefore

The Law of Reproduction Part 3

The Needs of Next-Generation Leaders

The interaction of Moses and Joshua demonstrates that reproducing leaders is not a quick, simple process. It closely resembles parenting. It requires time, emotional investment, and sacrifice.

Moses undoubtedly tailored his mentoring to the needs of Joshua. That is important. If you are a parent with more than one child, you understand that each child must be handled differently. Your children have different gifts, interest, talents, and needs.

Still, certain aspects of the parenting process remain fairly constant. When you begin developing the next generation of leaders, recognize that you’re protégés will need certain things:

  1. From themselves: Conviction, courage, and obedience 

Only emerging leaders themselves can provide some things. You cannot give them the right attitude or the will to learn and obey. When Joshua came to Moses, he had already demonstrated a conviction to follow God, the courage to fight for his beliefs, and the willingness to obey both God and his mentor. That made him a good candidate for further leadership development. As you look for people to mentor, seek those who possess qualities similar to the ones Joshua displayed.

  1. From their mentor: Equipping 

As the mentor, you bear the responsibility for providing emerging leaders with the things they cannot get on their own. Perhaps the following guideline will help you to properly equip them:

P—Purpose: Don’t merely spend time with emerging leaders; be strategic. Think of your interaction as an investment based on vision and charged with purpose.

A—Assessment: Give protégés honest feedback. If you don’t let them know how they are doing, who will?

R—Relationship: Your relationships supply the glue that holds you and your protégés together during the mentoring process. The greater the challenges, the more solid the relationship must be.

E—Encouragement: Protégés will make mistakes and fail; count on that. Your positive words may offer the only things of value they can count on during their most difficult times. Without encouragement, they may lack the will to persevere and keep moving forward.

N—Navigation: The less experienced the emerging leaders, the more help they will need to navigate the obstacle course of life—and the more help they will need in learning how to make good leadership decisions.

T—Tools: Protégés need skills and resources that only a more experienced person can provide.

Above all, as you equip your protégés, approach them as you would dearly loved children: with patience, perspective, and a positive attitude.

  1. From God: Vision

As you begin to invest in potential leaders, you will invite them to come alongside you and participate in the fulfillment of your vision. That is as it should be. But there will come a time as you release your protégés when they will need to have a vision of their own. That’s not something you can give them. No one can borrow vision; each person must possess his own. Ask God to bless the individuals you mentor with a godly vision that will sustain them as they become leaders in their own right.

  1. From the people: Buy-in

Without the support and participation of the people, the individuals you mentor cannot make the difficult transition from protégé to leader. So far as it is in your power to do so, publicly invest your authority in your protégés once they appear ready for the responsibility.