What Youth Want From Leaders

If you are a parent, school teacher, boss, or lead youth in some other way then you might find this interesting.  A survey by Thom Rainer (thomrainer.com) was done of youth born between 1980 -1991 (18-30 yr. olds) to learn what they looked for in their leaders.  This is what he discovered: (Quote)

1. Mentoring. This generation has great respect for those older than they are. Most of them have good relationships with their parents. They have learned from older people all their lives, and they don’t want to stop now. They want to be led and taught in their places of work, in their churches, and in their families. They particularly want to learn from couples who have had long and successful marriages. Many Millennials see such examples as heroes to emulate.
2. Gentle spirit. This category is easier to describe by what Millennials do not want in leaders. Divisive, loud, and acrimonious persons turn them off. They loathe politicians and political pundits who scream at each other. They are leaving churches to some extent because they see many Christian leaders as negative and prone to divisiveness. They are repulsed by business leaders with harsh and autocratic spirits.
3. Transparency and authenticity. I wish Jess and I had counted the number of times that Millennials used the word “real” to describe leaders they want to follow. As one Millennial told us, her generation “can smell phony and pretentiousness a mile away.” They don’t want phony; they want authentic. They don’t want pretentious; they want transparent.
4. Integrity. The Millennials are weary of politicians who don’t keep promises. They are tired of Christian leaders who fail basic moral standards. They are fed up with business leaders who are more concerned about personal gain than serving others. They want leaders with integrity.” 

My observation is this generation is reacting to the ills of the previous Generation X (my genration!) and of the Baby Boomers.  All you have to do is read the headlines of scandals, breakups, and failures of the past ten years to realize that!  I also think this generation would find Jesus’ leadership style very attractive.  He mentored twelve disciples, had a gentle spirit (think of the woman Jesus refused to stone), was transparent (He had nothing to hide), and had the integrity to serve others before himself.  I would think that business leaders, teachers, and ministry leaders who model the principles of Jesus would be very influential with this age group.


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