How can we ensure that the young leadership so important to philanthropy is nurtured and developed? In order to ensure stability and sustainability within a philanthropic community or organization, it is crucial to cultivate these young leaders. However dynamic an older leader is, one person’s dynamism should not be the main engine of an organization.
The process should begin with identifying future leaders within the relevant community or organization. Once potential leaders are identified, it is the duty of those at the top of the establishment to nurture and mentor these individuals. But it is not just this traditional mentorship model that is needed to propel young leaders to the top; they also need to be given the right breathing room, training, and opportunities to gain key leadership skills.
Much of the issue of young leadership comes down to empowerment, and this is something that must be clearly established within organizations at a managerial level. Top management must recognize promising younger individuals and encourage them by allowing them to take risks and develop their own projects and passions.
Micro-management is one of the great dangers of small companies and can drown out the energy and creativity brought to the table by younger members of an organization. Top management, especially in NGOs, are often focused on the financial side of things, and are eager to have a finger in all the pies. The key to expanding an organization and fostering its future leadership is knowing when to step back and let your employees take on greater responsibility. Admittedly, this involves a certain amount of risk, but it is the only way you can ensure the future stability of a community of an organization.
Learning when not to do something is a critical skill for managers. Steve Jobs notably said that “People think focus means saying ‘yes’ to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying ‘no’ to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things we have done.” Being able to say “no” to new projects is a crucial skill. Ultimately saying “no” and stepping back allows younger members of the organization to find their footing, take the reins, and learn to lead.
A central pillar of The Reut Institute’s strategy is: “To develop an elite cadre of strategic leaders and to assist them in assuming positions of authority, leadership, and influence in Israeli and Jewish public spheres”. For more information on Reut’s intensive Leadership Training Program, click here.