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Developing Women for Leadership By Dr. Halee Gray Scott

The Intentional Development of Millennial Women for Leadership

In the 21st century, we are inclined to think that there are no unknown territories, no frontiers left uncharted for women. Yet, when Christian nonprofit organizations seek to equip millennial women for leadership, they are embarking, like Lewis and Clark, on a journey into terra incognita.

The endeavor poses a double challenge because organizations are engaging a generation that is qualitatively different from their predecessors and, for the first time, are intentionally seeking how to equip women for leadership.

Increase Visibility

Provide ample opportunities for women of all generations to display their talents, competencies, and accomplishments. Senior leadership should strive to assume responsibility for promoting the advancement of female leaders by ensuring that key decision makers are open to recruiting more women for leadership positions. Increasing the visibility of female leaders helps alleviate the perception that specific women leaders are “exceptional” simply because they are both a female and a leader.

Adopt a Transformational Leadership Style

Millennials do not respond well to transactional styles of leadership that are based on contingent reinforcement, positive or negative. A recent study of Christian nonprofit organizations revealed that Millennials are not alone: Both men and women of all generations desire to be inspired and led by a more relational leadership style.

Build Multi-generational Teams

Providing Millennials with the opportunity to serve alongside Baby Boomers and Gen Xers illustrates that Millennials are valued members of the workforce and enables them to play a meaningful part in the decision-making process.

 Establish Mentoring Programs

Help millennial women develop competencies that will help them thrive as leaders. Although millennial women are confident that they will be able to effectively integrate corporate and family life, many struggle with the pragmatics of piecing both together in a cohesive way. Mentoring programs can help Millennials grow as leaders and negotiate the boundaries between work and home.

Connect Work to Meaning

Millennials need to understand how their work is meaningful and how it contributes to a greater cause. Who is counting on them? Who benefits from their labor? How is the world a better place because of what they do? Creating opportunities for Millennials to express themselves through their strengths and passions enables them to find purpose in their work.

Lewis and Clark never did find a direct water route across the continent, but they produced the first accurate maps of the unknown territory. Likewise, the process of engaging and equipping millennial women for leadership is unknown territory. However, these five strategies will help organizations navigate the challenges in mapping out new, uncharted frontiers.


Halee Gray Scott, PhD, serves as the Young Adult Initiative Director for Denver Seminary. She is an author and independent social researcher who focuses on issues related to leadership and spiritual formation. She teaches seminary courses in spiritual formation, theology, and leadership in seminaries across the country. Her latest book is, Dare Mighty Things: Mapping the Challenges of Leadership for Christian Women (Zondervan 2014), explores roadblocks that keep female leaders from fully exercising their influence.


Register today for The Outcomes Conference 2020 and be sure to attend Dr. Halee Gray Scott’s leadership workshop: #WeToo: Men and Women Flourishing Together in Ministry.




What is Christian Leadership Alliance?

Christian Leadership Alliance equips and unites leaders to transform the world for Christ. We are the leaders of Christ-centered organizations who are dedicated to faithful stewardship for greater kingdom impact.

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