Episode #116: 7 Challenges of Being a Young Leader | L3 Leadership Podcast

L3 Leadership Podcast Episode #116: 7 Challenges of Being a Young Leader
L3 Leadership Podcast Episode #116: 7 Challenges of Being a Young Leader



This is part 2 of the my two part series on the benefits and challenges of being a young leader. In this episode, I’ll be sharing the 7 challenges of being a young leader. Last month, I’ll talk about the 7 benefits of being a young leader. You can listen ot that in episode 113!

Book Recommendation: Spiritual Leadership by J Oswald Chambers

Why I wanted to do this lesson:

For Young Leaders

    • I want you to know that you’re not alone 
    • I want you to know that you are in one of the most exciting seasons of your life! 
    • I want you to know that if you’ll make the right decisions in this season as a young leader then you’ll get to where you need to be, and do what God called you to do. What you do today matters.

For Seasoned Leaders

    • I want you to see the value of young leaders
    • I want you to recognize where young leaders are
    • I want you to remember what it was like when you were a young leader
    • I want you to invest in young leaders

7 Challenges of being a Young Leader

When I interview leaders for the podcast, I always ask leaders the following question: Where do you see young leaders “missing it” most often? Regardless of what leader I interview, the responses are all typically the same. It’s from their responses and my observations that I submit to you the following challenges: of young leaders:

1.) The Challenge to Be Developed rather than Discovered

I’ve found that young leaders, including myself, can focus too much time and energy on being discovered rather than being developed. What I don’t think we realize is that if we’ll focus on being developed, then one day we will be discovered.

Development happens daily, not in a day! -Maxwell

Dave Ramsey: I have worked my butt off for 25 years….now I am “An Overnight Success” -Dave Ramsey

2.) The Challenge to Be Teachable

Pride will keep us from teachability and will keep us from getting where we want to go. Pride is a major hindrance to everything good in your life because, as we are about to see, pride breeds presumption, and presumption kills teachability.” ― Matt Keller

As leaders, we all need people who can confront us, tell us no, and tell us things we don’t want to hear, but need to. Being teachable requires humility. Being unteachable is usually a sign of pride.  If you will humble yourself and develop a teachable spirit, there will be no limit on your growth!

“Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.— Robert Frost

“Feedback is the breakfast of champions.”— Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson

“If I am through learning, I am through.”— John Wooden

Have people that can tell you no!

3.) The Challenge to be Faithful and Patient 

If you will be faithful day in and day out with what you have in your hand right now, you will get to where God wants you to go. Don’t let your impatience cause you to miss out on what God has planned for you

  • Develop a faithfulness attitude 
  • You’re probably already doing what you’ll be doing, just not at the capacity you’re doing it!
  • What if you never get what’s in your heart? Is God still enough?

4.) The Challenge to Recognize It’s Not About You

Rick Warren recently tweeted, “The most important advice on leadership I can give young leaders: It’s not about you!”

My Pastor recently said, “Success in leadership isn’t when you reach your full potential, it’s when you get to a place where you are helping other people reach theirs.” John Nuzzo

The Selfishness Test:

How do I treat people that can do nothing in return for me?

12 Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. 13 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” Luke 14:12-14

What do you do that other people don’t know about and will never know about?

2 “So when you [a]give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 3 But when you [b]give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your [c]giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. ~Matthew 6:2-4

5.) The Challenge to Have an Abundance Mentality – When we’re young, for the most part, we’re all trying to prove that we have what it takes to lead, provide, be something, etc. As a result, we can often get jealous our peers and start compare and compete with them. If our peers seem to be surpassing us, we get envious, bitter, depressed, or even angry.

6.) The Challenge to Define Success Correctly 

When you don’t have a correct view of success, you’re setting yourself up for Massive depressed, disappointment, discouragement.

Define success for you!

At the end of the day, if you are loving God and loving others, you are more successful than you could ever imagine

Some definitions of success that I like:

Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming. -John Wooden

Success means having those closest to me love and respect me the most. -John Maxwell

Success in life is: 1.) Knowing my purpose in life 2.) Growing to my maximum potential 3.) Sowing seeds to benefit others. -John Maxwell

Create a Success List

7.) The Challenge to Manage these Challenges  Andy Stanley said, “When you have a challenge come up, you have determine if it is a problem to solve or a tension to manage.”


  • Evaluate yourself in light of these challenges… how are you doing at handling them?
  • Take some time to journal as you reflect on these challenges. Determine action steps you need to take based on your reflection!


  • Which of these challenges do you struggle with?
  • What other challenges do you see for young leaders?


  • Mastermind Groups – We have weekly webinars about Mastermind groups every Tuesday night from 9 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. .  E-mail Doug at dougsmith@l3leadership.org if you are interested.
  • To listen to other interviews, go to our L3Leadership Podcast page. To learn more about what we’re doing through L3 Leadership, sign-up for our e-mail newsletter here.


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