Leading the Next Generation

We are all leaders. A mother, a father, a bus conductor, a schoolteacher, a friend, a neighbour, a poice woman, a priest - no matter what role you play right now, you are a leader. This is not a matter of choice. In fact, the only choice we have is, what kind of leaders we become? A good leader or a bad one!

I have spent most of my life with young people- guiding them, leading them, learning from them, and even getting into trouble with them. From what I have observed and learned, I list below certain leadership characteristics that inspire and influence the so-called NEXT GENERATION.

The qualities and characteristics of leaders the next generation seeks

 1. Connectedness

Connection cannot happen in a relationship vacuum. Therfore a good leader needs to continue to develop relational skills.

The next generation has replaced reason with relationship. It is not the same as, “Love is all you need.”

You may be able to argue a case with great success or prove a point with your logic, but if you don’t know how to love and care, you are not a leader. “I do not call you servants but I call you friends,” said Jesus to his disciples.

2. Egalitarian

Situational rather than positional

Associates rather than assistants. Lead in a team rather than solo. Learn to deligate and share responsibility and authority.

You may hold high positions due to your caste, class, qualifications or even wealth, but your heirarchical position will not attract next generation followers. Theirs is a horizondal rather than a vertical leadership structure.

3. Accepted rather than appointed

Integrity and genuineness

Keep your promise

Your authority comes from your lifestyle rather than the position you hold or the promise you make. So learn to walk the talk. The next generation followers are not afraid of leaders who make mistakes but they have no time for leaders who pretent to be perfect. You may be a biolgial father but you are not a father until your children accept you as their father. Some fathers and mothers are worse than strangers.

4. Authority is earned, not attributed

Charima and character not connections and qualifications. Spiritual gifts, not theological qualifications

Your influence, not hierarchical power is what matters

You make sense when you walk with people in their every day experiences of life. The next generation is more interested in who they are walking with rather than where they are going. You can buy sex or popularity but you cannot buy love. It is given and received not bought and traded.

5. Principled but flexible

Prepared to learn and adapt.

Less concerned with programmes, more concerned with people.

Patient with those who are different from them.

Next genration leaders are not people who know everything and they don’t claim to be flawless. They are men and women who know that they walk on feet of clay. They take time to understand other points of views and ways of doing things.

 6. Accept the misuse of authority in the past

Willing to learn from both the success and failures of the past.

Past is not all glory. It also contains shame. We learn from both.

Need for humility and credibility, not positional power

The next generation needs leaders who forgive in grace rather than punish in anger. They are not afraid of God’s wrath because they know that God remembers to be merciful in His wrath.


Managers are people who do things right, while leaders are people who do the right thing.”

Warren Bennis, On Becoming a Leader.



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