Most Vital Need in a Young Leader

The future leadership of an organization is in the hands of the present leadership; otherwise the influence of the present leadership has an expiration date. Mentorship and succession planning is a vital part of any organization’s sustainability, yet it is often an overlooked area of development, even in organizations with solid leadership development strategies. Often for leaders, succession training threatens the influence and security of the current leader, causing them to put it off or ignore it all together. (de Vries, 1988, p. 25) Inevitably though, succession is going to happen, and if proper planning is not in place, a cultural disruption can occur, possibly sending an organization off-course. (Gilmore, 1988)

As a leader seeks to develop new leaders, support must first be offered by the mentor to provide security in a “learn by doing” environment where mistakes are an inevitability; this fosters self-actualization aiding in potential realization by the new leaders. (Northouse, 2013, p. 228) It is vital for new leaders to gain confidence in their leadership skills through application to overcome the prevailing façade of arrogance that masks the insecurity of many young leaders. For young leaders to feel powerful and effective, it is important for them to hear their mentors praise their potential and reiterate the mentor believes in them. (Kouzes, 2012, p. 245) This breeds the confidence young leaders so badly need. If this praise and confirmation of worth is routinely exercised, a young leader can successfully navigate the learning curve of skills development, relational intelligence, decision-making, and system management despite their inadequacies starting out.

What area of leadership development was most influenced by a mentor you had as a young leader?


De Vries, M. F. R. K. (1988). The Dark Side of Ceo Succession. Management Review, 77(8), 23.

Gilmore, T. N. (1988). Making a leadership change: How organizations and leaders can handle leadership transitions successfully. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Kouzes, J. M. (2012). The leadership challenge: how to make extraordinary things happen in organizations (5th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Northouse, P. G. (2013). Leadership: theory and practice (6th ed.). Thousand Oaks: SAGE.

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