Traits of the Emerging Young Leader

The Business View – March 2016 / From the Publisher


By Bill Sisson, President & CEO, Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce

What is a young leader? And what does it take to be one? Many people think that to be a leader means you have years of experience, expert knowledge and lots of connections to other influential people. Without question, all of that helps. My belief is that a true leader can be developed through created experiences and not length of time. Our emerging young leaders in Mobile are solid proof of this.


It is encouraging that many of the so-called “Millennials” here in Mobile and in other cities across this country want to give back to their communities by engaging in projects focused on immediate results. How’s that for created experience? And in my experience in working with them at the Chamber, young leaders know how to compensate for their relative lack of experience by developing positive habits to help them execute their vision.


Here are a few of those habits I’ve observed: effective young leaders listen to the advice of older team members and almost always have mentors. They appreciate age diversity, and realize that age differences in the workplace can make for a well-balanced and unique team.


Since they are not weighed down by knowledge and established connections, they are willing to take risks – and those risks often pay out big in the end. Most of all, they believe in their vision for what the community can be. Experience and failures make some of us who are more “seasoned” overly cautious.


Young leaders have a tendency to dream big. It’s my firm belief that Mobile will be a better place because of our young emerging leadership. It’s our challenge both at the Chamber and in the community as a whole to keep an eye out for the best young talent we can find and give them the tools to make Mobile an even better community for our future generations. The good news is that our future is in very capable hands.


Click here to read The Business View – March 2016