Dear Mr. Leader,
My son is graduating from college soon, and he will start his job with you. He’s a bright kid, graduating with honors, and he has learned a lot of theory over the past four years. While growing up he’s had loving parents who supported his childhood dreams and held him accountable to weekly chores and family values. He’s been spoiled and grounded, so he understands love and accountability. He’ll be an incredible asset to your company.
Now, out of our influence and into yours he goes.
You’ll be his next leader. From you he’ll experience what good or bad leadership looks like. He’ll be your watchful follower as you mentor and coach him. Someday he will lead others like you have led him. It’s an awesome responsibility that many leaders take too lightly. Maybe they don’t realize that they are molding somebody’s son or daughter, one among the next generation of leaders.
Please teach him that money isn’t a goal; it’s a result. Allow him to learn through successes and failures. Give him love and care, but also be candid about his performance and hold him accountable to his results.
Let him experience the benefit of trust and teamwork as he serves and interacts with others on his team. Teach him when it’s appropriate to use his heart or his head when making business decisions or interacting with others. Prepare him to be strong so he can weather the tough times. Teach him to reflect and be thankful for the good times, so they don’t pass by without full appreciation of the moment.
Allow him to challenge the system so you can benefit from his insight. Force him to openly communicate face-to-face in our e-mail and texting society. Show him how to seek diversity in talent, so he’ll embrace the different thoughts and gifts of others. Demonstrate your strength, power, and courage by expressing your humility and vulnerability. Tell him stories of your failures and how you learned and persevered through them.
My son, like many other sons and daughters, has the potential to be a great leader. You will be a key influencer in making this a reality. You get to groom his potential into proven talent. Please be patient and consistent with this process because grooming great leaders takes time and energy.
Someday you and I will retire, and our successors will carry on. How well they carry on will be our scorecard. Thank you, Mr. Leader, for taking on this important task of leading my son. Funny thing… without even knowing it, you will also be teaching him how to one day groom another emerging leader.
Your Future Leader’s Mom
PS – Make sure he eats his vegetables and calls his momma every once in a while.