Help! I Work With People

By Chad Veach
Bloomington, MI: Bethany House Publishers (2020)
Kindle edition, 256 pages

Chad Veach, author of Help! I Work With People, wrote this book because he is fueled by people and loves the subject of leadership and relationships. He is an authority on the subject because his church is the fastest-growing young adult church in Los Angeles. The author shares his leadership expertise by giving new meaning to leadership—modern leadership. Leadership is no longer about being in authority. Leadership is no longer about placing fear in others in order for them to follow you. Leadership is not about how much work you can accomplish. Leadership is more personal, and it starts with those closest to you.

Veach shares that production and performance are important, but not as important as realizing who you are. Once you realize who you are, you can then develop skills in working closely with people; this then leads to production and performance. He includes faith, love, and compassion as the foundation (loc. 287). His technique is to lead people by building up followers, which leads to loyalty long-term and passion for the leader and the mission.

The first and most important point Veach makes is that leading yourself is the primary quality of successful leadership. It takes self-awareness and knowing one’s strengths and weaknesses. Once you are aware of your strengths, you can then use them to influence others. If you spend too much time analyzing yourself though, you can never move forward (loc. 436).

Leaders can use and practically apply the recommendation to use personality tests, because these are great tools with which to start (loc. 465). Some common questions to be considered while testing your personality include: What comes naturally to me? What do other people observe in me? What have I learned by trial and error? What do I enjoy? and What works for me? (loc. 468–530). These questions can help leaders pinpoint their gifts.

The second point is that a successful leader must become a people person. A people person who truly loves and cares for people will be successful in engaging with people, connecting with them, and motivating them. When you are a loving and caring people person, you will have the right focus on the people whom you serve. Leaders cannot connect with people if they do not care about them (loc. 1509).

A useful and practical technique for becoming a people person is to develop the skill to wait and listen before pushing one’s own agenda (loc. 1756). When you wait and listen first, you have an advantage because you are able to read the emotions, expectations, needs, desires, and goals of a person or even a group of people. Leaders must take the time to understand the environment in which they are working. This way, the leader can adjust as needed because the goal is always to serve others.

Veach points out that becoming a successful leader is all about teamwork. He references authors and leadership consultants Gordy Curphy and Dianne Nilsen by noting their use of the term “buy-in” when speaking about team members who have an attitude of team-first instead of me-first (loc. 2710). When working with a team, leaders can only be successful if a system is established. Veach provides a practical process that all leaders should apply as they lead in their organizations.

Successful teams can be established, but procedures, plans, and processes must be put in place first (loc. 3516).

I highly recommend this book to anyone who may find themselves in charge of people. We find ourselves in charge of our churches, church groups, teams at work, family businesses, children’s school activities, and even our homes. All people we encounter have feelings and ideas. This book provides practical tools and references that will challenge and inspire the reader to be successful and productive in leading people in any situation.

R. Denise Johnson is the evangelism coordinator for the Pasadena Seventh-day Adventist Church and co-director of the School of Evangelism and Resource Center in Pasadena, California, USA.

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