7 Tips for Young Leaders

Epic quests require epic reminders. As you build your organization here is some encouragement and advice.

You don’t have to do everything.

The Parato Phenomenon shows that 80% of the results come from only 20% of the effort. This means you can say “no” to a lot of things without suffering much loss. Saying “no” to 80% of opportunities could lead to only a 20% loss in outcome. Imagine a world with 80% less stress.

The key is to say “no” to the right things.

A clear goal and predetermined priorities will help you focus. Don’t forget to reevaluate those priorities. Don’t be afraid to kill the sacred cows if they get in the way of the goal.

YOU don’t have to do everything.

God has called you to be a leader. That means he has surrounded you with followers. These folks believe in your cause. Let them hold up your hands by delegating and empowering them to work on your behalf.

Dont Do Everything

When you do a task that could be done by someone else you rob them of the eternal reward they could have earned. You also rob them the experience they could have gained. You think you are here to change the world. I think you are here to help create a team that will continue changing the world after you are gone. Do only what only you can do. Then, train others to do what only you can do. By doing this you will grow your team into a mighty force.

You don’t have to be at every meeting. In fact you should not be at every meeting. This will burn you out and limit grow. A sign of a healthy team is that the leader doesn’t have to be apart of everything for it to succeed.

Stay within your strengths. Delegate your weaknesses.

The more time you spend operating in your weaknesses the more you rob your organization of your strengths.  If you don’t know much about web design find someone else to build the website.

Delegation will be hard at first. In the early days of your organization you did do everything yourself. You did things your way. The right way. Delegation means allowing others to do things differently than you would have done them. This is hard. But doing everything yourself will burn you out and limit growth. Delegation is the only way to avoid failure in the long run.

Here are two keys for successful delegation.

  • Key #1 Budget time for training. Your team will need training and time to learn. Don’t hang them out to dry by giving them a task and then letting them flounder.
  • Key #2 Set specific goals. Even a low capacity person can produce high capacity results when driven by a clear goal. The goals you give should be clear, specific and time oriented.

As you delegate try to keep your people in their areas of strength. Nothing will burn your team out faster than working in areas of weakness. This requires hiring people who are different than you are.

Don’t Forget the Sabbath

Sabbath rest

God did not create us to work seven days a week. When He called you to this epic quest, He did not give you so much work that you must forget the Sabbath. This is not His way. If you find yourself working on Sunday find another day to rest.

It is morally wrong to work so many hours when so many are out of work.

Rest brings with it several great benefits:

  • Rested ears listen better.
  • Rested minds make better decisions.
  • Rested hearts handle the emotional strain of leadership better.
  • Rested bodies work faster.
  • Rested eyes can see opportunities.

Practice the discipline of to do list keeping

Having a unknown amount of work hanging over your head is stressful and exhausting.

Keeping a daily todo list allows you to do two things:

  1. Prioritize Actions. It is easier to stay within the critical 20% when we prioritize in the calm of the morning before the rush of the day sets upon us.
  2. Delegate. When everything is on paper it is easier to see what can be delegated. Do only what only you can do.

Read Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by Dave Allen if you have not already.

Don’t forget how far you have already come.

As a young leader it is easy to get discouraged with the enormity of the task. You can look at the endless road before and despair. The giants seem unbeatable. The obstacles to great. Yet, God is doing amazing things! From the times of Christ to now God has been moving in the affairs of men. He has been moving in your life too.

The Gospel started 2,000 years ago and 7,000 miles away. And yet here you are standing on the shoulders of the saints who’ve gone before. Before you give up look back, take courage and get back into the action.

Don’t forget who’s got your back.

You don’t work for an impersonal general in the sky. You work for your Heavenly Father and co-labor with Christ. God has given you everything you need to do everything He has called you to do.

It can be scary to sit on your horse and watch the advance of the enemy. But don’t forget the nights who ride with you. Behind them stand a host of archers with powerful long bows of prayer. As the enemy advances he must pass through them to get to you.

You can do this. Christ is with you.

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Thomas Umstattd Jr. is the author of Courtship in Crisis, the former head of PracticalCourtship.com, and co-founder of the Austin Rhetoric Club, a homeschool speech and debate club in Austin, Texas. He is a professional speaker and CEO of Author Media. He sits on the board of directors for several nonprofits, including the Texas Alliance for Life.