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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I'm lost, to say the least! As a new pastor, taking over a newly started church I have read just about everything there is to learn what I can do to grow the church. I truly beleive that those attending our church are friendly and sincere. So that can't be the issue. I have read all the comments to this article and I feel that most churches will never have a fair chance! We are a VERY small church, so we don't have a children's church (yet). So if a family comes and gets upset that we don't have a children's church for them to put their children into, we lose! We do provide things for their kids to do during the service and even have an option for their kids to be in a different room, if they don't want their kids to sit with them. We are also such a small church that we don't have a worship team/band/etc. Our worship music comes from music videos. The congregation we do have likes it this way, but of course we would love to have a worhsip team. So, if someone comes to our church and is upset that we don't have live music, we lose! The point I am trying to make is that when people come in with preconceived ideas of what a church should be like, they will never find a church home, unless they find a church who's goal is to entertain! Every Sunday our message comes from the Bible, so that can't be a complaint for someone, so instead, people leave the church and never come back because they want more from a church: they don't want friendly people who are following the Word of God; they want a church that give them something (a babysitter for their kid, entertainment, free gifts, etc.) I'm sorry if sound cynical, I truly want everyone to hear the Good News and learn about Christ's love, but if they come in looking for something else, then the church will always lose!
 
— JAG
 
Reminds me Tony Morgan's classic post entitle “What If Target Operated Like A Church?” I wrote about this in a blog post "Is Your Church Like Target…or More Like A Mall?" https://goo.gl/2qQIy3
 
— bruceherwig
 
Challenging and very good
 
— John Gilbank
 

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