Future leaders, leadership is changing right before our very eyes.

Those who are able to connect the dots to a more demographically diverse core group of people will emerge as the top leaders in all areas of American life.

It is really an issue of our ability not to accept change, but embrace change.

Certainly, things have changed and we know that does not guarantee that change is good. If we believe that there is some good in everything, then our efforts should be centered on excavating the good from changing and using it as a catalytic moment to lead.

Some would say that the good old days are gone. I see that the good old days are just going through a re-birth.

The social, political, and even employment appetite of our cultural landscape has changed, and to deny that would be mutiny on the deck of our own leaderSHIP.

Future Leaders Attitudes

I have been writing a book called “What it’s like to be black in America.” The book is not about race, it’s about an actual experience and how that experience is shaping present day attitudes and behaviors of black leaders.

As I move forward with the research end of the book, I’m having conversations with young African Americans who are surprisingly disconnected from the ideology of those of us who are sen-agers (over fifty).

Leadership is not a Destination…It’s a Responsibility!

Young African Americans feel a sense of entitlement to things that us sen-agers worked for. For example, things like influence. We understand that influence is earned through the conduit of consistency in communication, behavior, integrity, character and relationship.

However, many of them expect to be influential as something that should be given because they’ve shown up. They don’t quite get the notion that experience is a GPS system, not a roadblock or detour. Additionally, they somewhat disregard those who are currently in authority because they want a pathway to success without the bridge of relationship.

Part of my experiment has been experienced through lectures that I’ve given at a number of colleges and universities. As I have engaged with students and educators, I see the same dynamic at play. There is a lack of relationship, a desire to lead, but no bridge to get there. And there is a misdiagnosis of what leadership is.

Many see leadership as a destination, and this is a bridge that leads to a frustrated leader and frustrated followers.

What I’ve experienced is that some see the gift of speaking as leadership, when in fact it is only one of the many components of leadership.

I’ll list a few others just for the sake of our conversation.

Leadership Components

  • Vision – and the ability to communicate it.
  • Likability – needed but not critical
  • Communication – clear, concise, consistent
  • Negotiation skills
  • Team building
  • Confidence
  • Collaboration ability
  • Motivation – for themselves and others
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Creativity
  • Humility
  • Integrity
  • Character
  • Influence

Sitting down with these future leaders has given me a great perspective on the landscape and terrain of my responsibility as a leader, to them, to a understanding of what role I need to play in their development, and in leadership as a whole.

As I step back from the table of analyzing these young African American future leaders, I don’t think they are much different than other Americans.

In fact, I believe they have a lot more in common than we may think on the surface. One thing for certain, it is critical that we reconnect with them and build stronger leadership relationships now that will help them lead later.

The New Leadership Landscape Challenge

We must reconnect with young leaders who are next in line for leadership!

We cannot afford to be so self absorbed in our on leadership that we do not create ways of finding and developing new leaders who have a desire to lead, who have a calling to lead, but who need coaches and developers to help them lead.

As our culture becomes more diverse and inclusive, we must build bridges of development for our new reality.The absolute worst thing we can do is ignore them.

We don’t have to abandon the leaderSHIP of our morals and principles. We need to simply yet powerfully help them build their leaderSHIP with proven tools that have worked for centuries.

It is not our option to ignore them because if we do, we’ll create leaders that we don’t understand through our own permissive behavior.

One of the things we discovered is that America has changed and we find ourselves a little out of step with that change and now we are all in the CRASH COURSE OF CHANGE from a leadership perspective.

We are all a little behind the times. The demographics change right before our eyes, and at this point, we don’t have all of the insight we need to connect.

10 Ideas to Connect with Future Leaders

  1. Be proactive and open to finding new leaders through communicating it to your teams.
  2. Make it a mandate to find emerging leaders.
  3. Develop a leadership program in your office or work with a consultant to develop a program for you.
  4. Establish a leadership library in your office – I’m amazed at how many companies and organizations don’t do this.
  5. Establish a once a week leadership training in your office.
  6. Begin a steady communication of how important leadership is to the organization.
  7. Meet with those you feel have a great potential emerging leaders.
  8. Spend more of your time with younger leaders than you do with older leaders.
  9. Establish a leadership coaching conference call
  10. Add as much diversity as possible to your teams as possible.

We have a definite window of opportunity to capture the attention of these new leaders let’s make sure we provide the necessary leadership that they’ll need to lead later!

How Do You Connect With Future Leaders?

If you have ideas that you feel like sharing that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!

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Mark Hampton
Mark founded FTL Leadership Group in 2005 when he wrote his second book “Follow the Leader” a leadership book that improves personal leadership ability with a focus on high quality people interactions.