Are You Leading for the Good of Those You Serve?

Jony Ive is the senior vice president of design at Apple and is known as the great design mind behind the products at Apple. In a rare interview, Jony shares some lessons he learned from working with Steve Jobs. In the interview, he recounts a conversation with Steve where Steve rebukes him for leading to be approved, for wanting approval from his team more than anything else.

According to Jony, he wondered if Steve could “moderate” his comments about his frustration with a product. When asked for the reason for the request, Jony expressed the desire for moderation because “he cared about his team.” Steve challenged him and remarked:

You are just really vain. You just want people to like you. I am surprised at you. I thought you really held the work up as most important, not how you believe you are perceived by other people.

Jony, and I assume Steve, don’t use the term idolatry, but the confrontation centers on a common leadership idol—the idol of approval. When we lead for approval, we really are vain. We are leading for ourselves, to feel needed and appreciated. While we can mask our pride by insisting our decisions are really for the team, if approval is our ultimate goal, then we really aren’t leading for the sake of others.

Of course, I am not suggesting that the product, ministry, program, or initiative is more important than people. We should not exchange the idol of approval for the idol of success, the idol of accomplishment. But many leaders struggle with leading to be approved instead of leading for what’s best, for the health of those they serve, for the mission of their team/organization.

Often times, “I care really deeply about my team” can really mean “I just want my team to really like me.” Or “I am just protecting my team” really means “I need my team to love me because my soul needs that.”

Jony Ive says he was crushed because he knew Steve was right. Some leaders need the confrontation that Steve Jobs provided Jony Ive. Are you leading so people will approve of you or are you leading for the good of those you serve?

JohnnyIve

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger serves as the Vice President of the Church Resource Division at LifeWay Christian Resources. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. He is also a teaching pastor and a frequent speaker and consultant on church mission and strategy. Eric authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, playing with his daughters, and shooting basketball.

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Recent Comments
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 
A great question! Unfortunately, the Church Unique Kit is no longer available in print form. We are working on revising it and updating it into an online experience, but that project is at least six months out. An alternative is to come to an upcoming certification class. There is one May 15-18 in Houston, and October 23-26 in Atlanta.
 
— VRcurator
 

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