Leading Edge: Developing Future Leaders

Leading Edge: Developing Future Leaders

Before my experience as an active member of The John Maxwell Team, many hours of my life were devoted to partnering with other adults to help youth grow and develop as leaders while also developing themselves physically.  Now having worked closely with John and his teaching, my vision has expanded which is what brought me to the assistant principal’s office at my fifth-grade son’s school.

While sitting in his office, we discussed the idea of their students participating in The John Maxwell Team Global Youth Initiative.  He was unsure what I was talking about, but liked the idea that the program was free for students. After sharing part of the video of Nick Vujicic’s talk utilized in the John Maxwell Team Youth Max Plus program, we set a date for me to share this leadership lesson on self-esteem with the entire school.

The day arrived and small boxes with gifts were set up in the back of the gym, so students had a tangible reminder that they have a gift to use in adding value to the world.  While walking through the school after packing up, students and teachers encouraged me with their positive feedback on the presentation.

That was not the most impactful part.  Providing a good talk that encourages people is one thing, but a few months later someone shared the impact that talk had on her.  While at an event at the local high school, a student came up and told me she enjoyed my talk. After asking why, she said that Nick’s story helped her realize she was not the only one who felt alone, and Nick’s positive outlook encouraged her and gave her hope.

Fast forward twelve months later, I am in a classroom full of high school students.  The room is broken into multiple groups and we are about to roll the dice to play The Leadership Game.

The first student comes to the front, rolls the dice, and picks up a card.  Each game is different, but one card asks students to write down their strengths and another asks them to share the strengths of those around them.  The students are engaged, interacting, and sharing new insights on how to be more effective leaders.

Later in the day, a student in one of the classes and me were talking.  After asking him what he thought of the experience, he said he liked it.

“Why?”  I ask

“I was encouraged to hear from my peers the strengths they saw in me,” he replied.

In a world where students, like adults, have a hard time seeing their value and worth this experience was able to provide something different.  At the foundation of effective leadership is how we see ourselves. Through these youth leadership development programs, students are able to see how they are valuable, and that they have gifts and strengths to add value to those around them.  

These students aren’t just leaders for tomorrow, but are leaders today.  How can you inspire the youth around you to be transformational leaders both now and in the future?


Throughout his professional career Randy has helped individuals and teams work toward reaching their goals and developing as leaders where they are.  He is an Independent Executive Director of The John Maxwell Team and has a Masters in Organizational Leadership which he uses to help individuals develop their personal and professional leadership skills in a way that will increase their impact among their colleagues, friends, and family.  Through his organization he seeks to develop today’s leaders and inspire the leaders of tomorrow. He lives in Fishers, Indiana with his wife and three sons.

You can contact Randy and learn more about his business at https://www.wheelercoachingsystems.com/contact-us/  or  www.johncmaxwellgroup.com/randywheeler.