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Learn to Lead Yourself Before Influencing Others

Leading Yourself

Pastor Chad Veach interacts with thousands of people weekly during his church services at Zoe (Zo-ay) Church Some of the attendees include Justin Bieber, Hailey Baldwin, Kourtney Kardashian, and Chris Pratt. 

In his latest book, Help! I Work With People, he focuses on how to effectively connect with people and lead well. Veach says in order to become a good leader you have to listen and learn before leading. Before leading, he says, you must learn to lead yourself. He explains, “The hardest person you will ever have to lead is yourself. If you can figure out how to lead you, you’ll be able to lead anyone regardless of their age, experience, or qualifications.” In his book, Veach teaches leading yourself means: developing self-control, leading by example, pursuing personal growth by finding your strengths. Veach says, “No one is born a perfect leader, it’s something you grow into… Your influence with others begins with who you are and how well you lead yourself.” Part of this is also identifying your strengths and weaknesses and working on both. He shares that after taking a personality test “..a few of us were texting back and forth about our results and discovered that two of us had the same personality type. We shared, ‘Isn’t this list of strengths amazing?’” The response he got back from the person with the same personality was, “But the list of weaknesses! Wow describes me so well.” In that moment, Veach realized that he was so focused on looking at his strengths that he didn’t even see the list of weaknesses associated with his personality. He explains, “Self-awareness is about knowing your strengths and your weaknesses, but leadership is primarily about influencing from your strengths.” 

Becoming a mature leader also entails finding the correct balance in life. Veach explains, “There is a demand in your life and there is a demand at home. Learning to balance and prioritize what is important is essential.” His first priority of every day is praying and asking God for direction saying “Lord, my life and my day belongs to You. Whatever You want to do, it’s Yours. As I go about my day, I want to be Spirit led. I receive Your strength, I receive Your wisdom, I receive Your Spirit.” He also says that you cannot give out to others what you don’t have inside of you. Spending quality time with his wife and children are also at the very top of his lists of priorities. So, he and Julia make sure to have ample family time. 

Leading Others

In order to lead, you have to have those who are willing to follow you. In order to influence them to buy-in to the goal and purpose you are moving towards they have to have a team first, instead of me first, mentality. Veach lists three components for successful teamwork: 1. Direction: Know where you are going. 2. People: Know whom you need. 3. Systems and Structure: Know how to get where you’re going. 

Learning to influence the influencers in your organization also helps you to become a more effective leader. Veach explains, “Often the biggest influencers are not the top leaders, but rather individuals in the middle somewhere.” Reach out to the influencers on your team because if they buy-in to the vision, others will follow. Veach says, “The key to becoming a great leader is empowering leaders around you. Build into your life a routine that leads you to godliness and leads you to a place of being ready and available for God to use you that day.” 

People Skills

Caring about others is imperative in connecting with people. Veach explains, “Caring refers to the empathy and love that motivates you to engage with others in the first place, and connection refers to the human link that you create with them.” There are three practices that Veach teaches on connecting with people. They include, learning their names, putting them at ease, and asking more questions about them. The bottom line is focus on others and making that genuine connection rather than focusing on yourself.

Treating people with dignity and respect will draw them to you. Using basic etiquette, like: Saying hi and greeting people; making requests instead of demands; expressing gratitude; and listening to others instead of interrupting them. Veach says, “Your manners communicate who you are and how much you value others.”

Handling Conflict

The majority of people will try to avoid conflict because it’s uncomfortable. Veach says, “Healthy conflict resolution means bringing closure to the issue at hand by addressing what needs to be addressed (communication), apologizing, if applicable (forgiveness), making changes (adjustments), and affirming the strength of the relationship moving forward (commitment). Conflicts is a normal part of life but how we handle it will either strengthen or weaken our relationships. Offense and conflict are going to come but we cannot allow us to stop us or lose our stride. We have to get back up and get moving. 

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