Young Eagles: Give a Platform Not Just a Role

If you have a young eagle in your organization, how do you keep them from wanting to leave the nest? Larry shares some insight into how to make your organization better while also developing the young eagles you have in your midst.

Hey, this is Larry Osborne here again, and I want to talk about young eagles, and particularly, how do you platform them.

We previously looked at how do you identify them, but one of the very important things about finding, developing, and releasing young eagles is to make sure they have a platform, and not just a role.

You see, within every organization, there are these subtle symbols of authority, of power, of, if you will, even being grown up, and one of the mistakes I find that leaders often make is we identify the young eagles, we use them for some of their skill set, but we never give them a platform, and then we’re absolutely shocked when they move on because they want to actually fly somewhere, and not get stuck in our gilded cage.

I think back to a period in my life when I was the young eagle at a church, and I shocked them when I took a huge cut in pay, went to a church plant that was way smaller than my youth group. I had an office that was a parishioner’s garage, and a desk literally out of the trash. And they thought, why in the world would you be doing that? Well, they didn’t know how to work with young eagles.

What actually happened there is I was given all kinds of opportunities to do ministry, and I think 26 years old, I’d become the second preacher in an incredibly large church. But all of the symbols and all of the platforms were something that I knew I’d have to wait 10, 15 years before I would have any opportunity to have them as a support to my ministry. It wasn’t about my ego. It was about the support to my ministry.

For instance, there was a door over, off to the side, and I knew it’d probably be 20 years before I was behind that door, where all the big decisions were made. Because a group of 50-year-olds looked at an early 20-year-old, and I knew they looked at a 30-year-old, and even when I would be 35, as somebody very young. I preferred to be behind that door, part of the decision-making process on something much smaller than simply a function in a very large church.

So, here’s my question for you, if you’re a leader: What are the little symbols out there that tell somebody you’re not yet fully aboard? You’re not yet fully grown up? And if they have the giftedness, if they have the skill set, if they truly are a young eagle, what are you doing to give them those opportunities and those platforms?

Over the years, by way of description, not prescription, here at North Coast, we’ve done things like sharing the title of a senior pastor with other people. I always made sure my office was no bigger than someone else’s office. If you’re a lead pastor right now, and you have a true eagle with you, why are you the only one who ever preaches on Easter? I could go on and on with those kinds of symbols.

Understand this: If you want a young eagle to fly in your cage, it can’t be gilded, and it can’t be small. And there has to be platforms. You’ll have to figure out what those platforms are, but without them, I guarantee your young eagles will fly somewhere else.

This video is part of the Young Eagles series available for free on YouTube, To watch the video, click below.