Ian Philpot

Today was a whirlwind of important information at the Global Leadership Summit, and I will consider myself lucky if I am able to remember any of it next week.

I’m going to save my favorite conference quotes for a post after the Summit to focus on a topic I’ve been trying to process since the last session ended today: the next generation of leaders—my generation.

Bill Hybels talked in his session about sowing seeds, and he took some time to talk specifically about sowing seeds of new leaders. Marc Kielburger talked about how the next generation is already stepping up to the task of taking on big issues like global poverty. And Craig Groeschel wrapped up the day talking about how young leaders need to honor those who have come before them (and older leaders need to train up those who will come after them).

By those examples, it may seem like the day was stacked on the issue of raising up young leaders, but the topics were a lot further apart than that.

I am just elated to hear about people who want to raise leaders up out of my generation.

I get excited when I read an article about how a small startup company has started changing the world, but there’s a part of me that’s nervous that those startups with their endless creativity and tireless effort don’t have the right leadership to get them to be a major player in the marketplace. I end up rooting for those startups anyway just because I want a story of someone from my generation making it. (What’s great is that Chicago is in the process of becoming a startup friendly city thanks to organizations like Excelerate Labs.)

Why am I, someone who isn’t event invested in their project, afraid that those organizations will fail? Because I feel like those people are a great representation of the creative and hard-working group in my generation.

But there’s another group in my generation that Craig Groeschel hit on—the “entitled.” Craig went on about this group for five minutes, and, while I definitely know some people in my generation who act that way, I don’t think “entitled” is the word to describe the entire group.

With that said, there was something else that stuck out from three of the other speakers: Great leaders have humility.

The first time I heard that phrase today, I thought it was one of those phrases about leadership that one leader needs to mention at a leadership conference. The second time I heard it today, I chalked it up to the speaker making a reference to the prior speaker as a respectful action rather than a to emphasize the same point. The third time I heard it, I knew I needed to pay attention to it, but I wasn’t getting how it played into the big picture.

Then, when I was frustrated at Craig Groeschel for calling my generation “entitled” for the tenth time, it hit me. Anyone who is entitled lacks humility and can’t be a great leader.

What a tragedy for my generation. 

I’d love to say that I have a solution for my generation to help them out of entitlement so that we can have great leaders, but I don’t (which sucks because it’s hard to wrap up this post now). Maybe I’ll find that solution when I have a chance to process the rest of the Summit. And when I do, I’ll start writing up the book proposal.