You have a lot of opportunities to write. Why a book on leadership?
I grew up with two parents that have unbelievable people skills. My father is an introvert, kind of a type B personality. My mother is an ultra type A, kind of loud, flamboyant personality. But both of them are uniquely gifted with people. My dad had a church of maybe 500-600 people. Our house was just always filled with people in our church, who were plumbers, and musicians, and other pastors visiting.
I just watched how my parents served people. The reason why I didn’t want to go into ministry was because I saw how much they invested into others. I ran from the call, not because I was, “I don’t love God.” I was just, “That seems like a lot of work.” Because I just watched my parents serve people. My favorite subject and my favorite thing about life is people, let’s write about the subject of how to work well with others.
We love to talk about “natural leaders” in this country, but I’m curious: do you think leaders born or made?
Everyone is uniquely gifted and graced by God. We believe that. But when it comes to leadership, I believe leaders are made. My mom and my dad are a great example, to go back to them. Both of them are uniquely fantastic leaders, and couldn’t be more opposite as far as personality.
Leadership is never limited to personality. Leadership is the ability to get people to buy into what you’re trying to do. Leadership, at its core, is influence. I know people that have a very quiet personality with massive influence. Look at some of the greatest artists and musicians, these are all very introverted people. It doesn’t have to be someone that’s loud, or someone that’s gifted as an orator, even. It has to do with the definition of influence. Can you influence others to get them to go to where you’re trying to take them?
What do you mean when you say that the hardest person to lead is sometimes yourself?
I love Simon Sinek’s book, The Infinite Game. You got to know your why. And so the reason why that is so hard is because if you are striving to be in competition with somebody else, you’re never going to win. You’ve got to define what is the mark? What is success? What are you going after? And the better you can do that, the easier life will be. The hardest part about leadership is not leading others, the hardest part about leadership is leading yourself.
And getting healthy, getting secure, working with your childhood trauma, or your issues of defense mechanisms and insecurities that we all have. All of us are wounded. All of us are broken. So how do I work through those things so I can serve others? Because that’s what leadership is about. Leadership is about improving and bettering others more than trying to create a fierce loyalty to myself. I think it’s funny, anybody that wants loyalty, never gets loyalty. But anybody that’s always willing to be fiercely loyal to others, it just … It’s a boomerang effect, it always comes back to that. think that’s why it’s always the hardest person to lead is yourself, because you’re beating down your motives and your intentions.
We have a very culturally defined idea of what a people person looks like. They’re gregarious, loud, the life of the party. But a people person can be quiet, reserved and even shy. That doesn’t mean that they don’t love their neighbor any less, right?
The reason why I wrote this book is what God is passionate about most, I want to be passionate about most.
God is so passionate about people, he sent His one and only son for people. Not for a church. He’s using his son to build a church, but he’s obsessed with humanity. So the origin of this book is really to go, “Hey guys, you realize what God loves the most, right? It’s humans.” I just don’t think God’s going, “Okay, all you guys that are quiet over there – back of the line, I’m only using the loud ones.” That’s not God.
It goes back to a gospel issue. That God will, even if I’m introverted, even if I have social anxiety, at least in my heart, I have a love for others. Maybe I express that through technology, through email, maybe I express that in other different ways, but at the core of who I am, I love people. I think for kingdom people, I think it goes back to the gospel.
Where do you feel like people tend to go wrong in helping create a culture where everyone feels loved?
I always think we get ourselves in trouble if I am the main source of everything. Vision,
Values, chemistry, I’m the guy. I think shared equity, shared ownership, that’s what church is all about. God’s, “Hey, I’m going to give you apostles, and prophets, and evangelists, and pastors, and teachers. I’m going to give you all this so you realize there’s no superheroes.” And by the way, these offices are only to build other people up to go do the great stuff. That’s just the way God works. I think we get ourselves in trouble when we try to be heroes.
Everybody wants the leader that’s, “Hey, what do you think? I had this idea, what do you think about that?” Shared vision and shared responsibility is how we get things done. Jesus has got all the gifting, all the authority from the Father and he just gives it away. Anybody that is a great leader that doesn’t empower, it speaks to their desire for control or glory. I think that the way that we get it wrong is when we don’t believe that the people are the greatest thing that we have going for us.
Influence looks like stepping down, being a servant, raising other people up. That’s very counterintuitive, and I think even people who believe it find it really hard to live it out.
At the end of the day, I’m really out for me. I think about me all day long. I’ve got to get that out of me. That’s why I think you need some daily things in your life that just help you go, “Oh yeah, that’s right. It’s not about me.” Because if not, you just drift into Me-vile.
It takes a long time. Because ultimately you’re leading yourself to the best version of yourself. What is the best version of yourself? The best version of yourself will always be the servant version of yourself. It might sound cliché, but I really believe the gateway into greatness is through the servant’s gates. Why do we admire Martin Luther King Jr, or Mother Teresa or Billy Graham, these household names? Because they serve.
Chad Veach’s Help! I Work with People is available now.