This year marks the one hundredth anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. It was April 1912, that the “unsinkable ship” slipped into the icy waters of the north Atlantic killing hundreds on board. This month, one hundred years later, we witnessed another sinking ship, the Costa Concordia. It was a pitiful story of a skipper—who literally skipped his duties and was arrested for abandoning his ship. I have blogged twice about this miserable display of character and leadership (see post 1 and post 2). But, an even bigger story has emerged from the disaster about how the male leaders on board this ship reacted to the tragedy. I enjoyed reading Rich Lowry’s blog about this. Rich is the editor of the National Review.

Lacking male leaders

Today's post is a guest blog by Jacob Ouellette. I have known Jacob and his wife, Hannah, for many years and appreciate them so much!  Jacob & Hannah’s specialty is bringing innovation and creativity into the culture of youth ministry. They are the youth pastors of Ignited Student Ministries at Cornerstone Church in Highland, MI. Their youth ministry has grown from a small youth group into a powerful youth movement. Nationally, Jacob & Hannah are heading up a youth leadership training tour with Teen Mania Ministries that is travelling the country.

I am finishing a blog series explaining why it’s so difficult for young people to step up into leadership roles today. Staff/faculty tell me it’s very difficult for the majority of them. I plan to offer a diagnosis and a prescription in each blog. So far, I’ve shared three ideas young people struggle with currently: meaningful conversation, critical thinking, and healthy risk. In this post, I will share one more.

I am in the midst of a blog series explaining why it’s so difficult for young people to step up into leadership roles today. Staff/faculty tell me it’s very difficult for the majority of them. I plan to offer a diagnosis and a prescription in each blog. So far, I’ve shared two ideas young people struggle with currently: meaningful conversation and critical thinking. Today, I have another.

The Saga of Poor Leadership Continues  OnMonday, I blogged about the sinking ship, off the coast of Tuscany. The cruise ship was four miles off its course, when it ran aground and began sinking.  Guests on board this ship said this was only the beginning of the ship’s failed leadership. Now that several days have passed, it has become clear what happened: The captain

schools classroom

Would you allow me to provide a review on the state of students and schools today?

If you are an educator, an athletic coach, a youth pastor or anyone who leads students, you must be aware of the state of affairs today when it comes to middle schools, high schools and colleges across our nation. Most of us are aware that our system is failing, but if we received a report card like our kids do—we’d receive a pitiful grade on our final this year.  Let me illustrate.

If you haven't seen this video yet, I hope you'll get a laugh out of it! My hope is that we can help those who are communicating with the next generation avoid communication failures and truly connect with those they lead. Today, I am proud to officially announce the release of Habitudes for Communicators! Order your copy of Habitudes for Communicators today by clicking here. Follow @TimElmore //

I have been writing for months on how we must learn to better connect with and communicate to the next generation of students. May I share direct quotes from kids who we asked to comment on their teacher, youth pastor, coach or employer:

  • “He’s lame. He thinks he’s teaching but most of us are Facebooking in class.”
  • “All my coach does is yell—which is a total turn off. It doesn’t motivate us.”
  • “Could you please tell my teacher to not use her ‘sleepy voice’ in class.”
  • “I wish my supervisor was real and clear when he spoke to us. None of us on the team respect him.”
When speaking to students, adults must remember this CRASH course in communication.

I couldn’t believe my eyes. I watched the news on Saturday and saw an ocean liner slowly sink into the water off the coast of Tuscany in the Mediterranean. Four thousand people have been rescued and three have been reported dead so far. The photos of the “Costa Concordia” were unbelievable. Several on board said, “It was like no one was in charge.” This is a classic “leadership fail” that we can learn from.

One of my greatest concerns for the teachers, coaches, employers and youth pastors we work with across the world is simply this: We think we are communicating with our young people…but we aren’t. In nationwide surveys, results continue to show that teachers assume they are successful at transmitting information in the classroom, while the students disagree—they remain clueless.(Both the teacher and the students were referring to the same classroom). The same goes for employers. Managers think they have communicated the essentials to their teams, but team members languish in vague uncertainty. They remain fuzzy not focused. Somewhere between the transmitter and the receiver there is a breakdown. Let me offer you four huge reasons why we must learn to communicate effectively with the next generation of young people:

Over the last three days, I have blogged about the mentoring communities I lead each year. Over the last thirty-one years I have mentored groups of high school students, college students, twenty-somethings, athletic directors, coaches, and mid-life executive leaders. On day one of my series, I blogged about what I look for in the people I choose to mentor. Yesterday, I wrote about the commitment I ask for in those I mentor. Today—I will write about what we do.

Yesterday, I began a series, sparked by the conversation going on around the country about mentoring. So many have just begun this habit, while our team at Growing Leaders have been doing this for three decades. While I don’t consider myself some sort of expert on the subject, we do want to weigh in on a conversation in which so many inexperienced folks are talking. In my last blog, I covered the qualities I look for in a person when I choose to mentor them. Today, I want to share with you the commitment I ask for, when I mentor a group of emerging leaders.

Lately, I’ve spotted others writing about the need for mentoring, how much they long to find a mentor and even one person who wrote about what they do in their mentoring group, after they’ve done it for two years. All of this gave me pause. Outside of the four books I’ve written on the subject, I have never pulled back the curtain and personally described what I do in my mentoring community. I have mentored emerging leaders for just over thirty years now.  Let me share with you what I’ve learned and what I’ve found works when I mentor a community of leaders. Today, I will start with how I choose the people I want to mentor.

We live in the “information age” but not the “communication age.”

Communicating with the next generation has never been more difficult. How did it become acceptable that our primary way of communicating with each other would be limited to 140 characters or less? Beyond that, we lose the attention of our children, students or young employees. If the words aren’t an amalgam of letters and numbers, well then C U L8R! Communicating with the next generation is essential. A CEO recently reported that all the people he fired over the last two years were due to failures in communication. People either miscommunicated information, communicated it poorly, or flat out failed to communicate necessary details. Look around you. In our culture, we often fail at the fundamentals. Having a conversation without an electronic device involved. Writing a thank-you letter. Listening in earnest to a friend in need. Our human exchanges lead us to learn, transform, revolutionize, innovate, connect and love. Communicating with the next generation has never been more important.

Have you been following the story of Tim Tebow this year? What a tremendous season! While he's certainly attracted his fair share of critics, there are some great leadership lessons learned by watching him. In this video blog, I'll share  a few insights I've gained from watching Tebow play this season. Who is inspiring you this year?

I have been asking myself a question for years that I’d like to ask you. How much do you have to believe in something before you talk to someone about it? Seriously. That question is a great grid for determining how deeply you believe in an idea or a principle or a person.