Q&A with Bob Goff: Becoming an Authentic Leader – Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast

Q&A with Bob Goff: Becoming an Authentic Leader – Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast


– [Narrator] This is the Craig Groeschel leadership podcast. – Hey Bob, it is a great honor to have you on the leadership podcast. I couldn’t think of anybody
that I’d be more excited about sharing with our audience. And I wanna talk to you today about your perspective on leadership and also celebrate and look at leadership through the lens of your
new book that just came out Everybody Always. And I gotta get the subtitle right, becoming love in a world full of setbacks and difficult people. Do you ever come across
difficult people everywhere? – Every once in a while. You’re looking at one. But first of all thank you for letting me be part of this. It’s just good to be with friends and talking about things that hopefully matter for some of the people that are listening in. – I know it will. Let’s about leadership
and difficult people. More than anybody I know, I think you combine
pragmatism and optimism in the way you lead and
the way you think in life, I’m just curious, how do you as a leader, what advice would you have for people in an organization if
they’re dealing with someone that might be critical, lazy, not following through the responsibility, what advice do you have from a leadership perspective and dealing with difficult people? – Yeah, I spent a lot of time overseas. And in one of the countries
in Africa we spent time in, there’s a saying they say
you never give a microphone to them, you’d never let go of it. And so what I’ll do is when
I’m talking to somebody I hang on to the microphone and there’s some people
sometimes in our organizations that wanna grab the microphone and I keep a hold of it. I just like this whole idea, people can express
their ideas and thoughts but I really am not looking
for a critique on everything. I think I want people that’ll
come up with creative ideas and thinking about the
solutions of these things. And I’ve never met a courageous cynic. I’ve never met somebody that’s kinda has that little Barb of cynicism. So I will actually talk
to them about that. I’ll say like that actually
isn’t as helpful as you think. What you’re trying to do is express an idea that’s really helpful. That’s your intent, but it’s coming across as kind of cynical and so what if we dial that back to about zero? – So if you’ve got somebody that is maybe pushing back against you. Maybe you’re trying to
coach them to become better and then they push back
and say, “Bob you’re crazy, “that didn’t make any sense.” What would you say to that leader to help give them the
courage to maybe push through an awkward or difficult conversation. Well the first thing that came to mind is let me help you pack your things. (laughter) We’ll miss you. But the second thing is to assume that people’s motives are just beautiful and come up with the least
creepiest explanation. ‘Cause sometimes somebody will
say something kind of wonky and they don’t know why
they said that wonky thing but it just kinda out there. And you don’t need to give
a bunch of airtime to that. You can actually assume that
they’re just as insecure as you just expressing it in a different way. Because we’ve like actually
controlled our insecurity a little bit, and they’re actually trying
to rope theirs in still. And so we don’t wanna
make a habit out of that. Just say, “Let’s do that once, “but we just got that out of the way. “So now let’s focus on this kind of “the better version of you.” – Let’s talk about that,
the insecurity piece. In your book, you write a
little about the fake self and as a leader, when we’re leading out of our insecurity it’s really hard for anybody to win. Talk to me a little bit about how you deal with the
idea of the fake self and become even more
authentic in your leadership. – And I’m not a psychologist
but, I’m a pretty good lawyer. And one of the things
that I’ve switched up over the last couple decades is I don’t try to be Jesus’s lawyer and I don’t try to win
arguments for people. And as a lawyer, I’m right for a living. (laughs) I just don’t wanna switch
into lawyer mode with people. I just wanna be a little bit more compassionate but not
distracted by what’s going on. And so we’ll have a brief
and pointed discussion about this, say, let’s just not do that. Let’s go in a different direction with some of those thoughts. One of the things is I’m not
trying to build consensus I’m trying to build a kingdom. And I think for some of our leaders where faith is important thing to you that idea of saying,
“What’s this beautiful idea “that you have that you’re
pointing at in the horizon?” And continue to point towards that. – So you do a great job with that. You are one of the most
inspirational people I’ve ever been around. And so through telling stories or even casting vision where people will get behind something in
a part of the world you see is important. Talk to me about how do
you specifically do that? What goes through your mind when you’re trying to inspire others. Teach me, how can we become better at inspiring others like you do? – Yeah, tell people why you’re
doing what you’re doing. If you let your people
that are working with you know what you want, then you don’t have to
tell them what to do. I’ll give you an example. 10 people applied to do
this assistant role for me. And I interviewed all 10. And I mentioned in every
single conversation with all 10 of them that I was looking for a two pound eggplant, I
couldn’t find it anywhere. Then we just moved on
to whatever other topic. One person out of the 10 showed up from Trader Joe’s the next day, had a bag and inside
of it was an eggplant. We weighed it, weighed two pounds. I hired him on the spot. So if you tell people what you want. Then you don’t have to
tell them what to do. And so I don’t kinda micromanage people but I point towards
the horizon and to say, these are the things that we’re about. And then I’m not trying
to get them on my page, I’m trying to get them on their page. And if our pages don’t line up, then we just have them
make different books. Just go somewhere else with your page. But not in a bad way, just
like let me be your biggest fan but we spent all this time wrapped around the axle trying
to reach agreement on things I think there’s a leadership
principle about just pointing towards the horizon and saying, “This is where this organization is going. “And we’d love to have
you be a part of that.” – What about yourself Bob? I wish that everybody
listening could actually spend 20 minutes with you because
they would sense your warmth, everybody does, and you seem to always live inspired. And that’s hard for people to do. What do you do that keeps
your passion level high as a leader? – Yeah, probably I keep
my distraction level low. Because people that are
distracted don’t lead well. And if you’re distracted by your iPhone and the news reports and all that, so I was telling a friend
on the way over here how I only know what I’m doing today, tomorrow and the next day. Ain’t that beautiful? Because if you gone to a dinner party and somebody’s looking
past you at someone else that’s a person that’s
like missing being present. And it’s easy for us to get
in proximity to each other. The more important thing is
to be present with each other. So the people that help me just do today, tomorrow and the next day. You know, I’m here right now and that’s I haven’t looked
at tomorrow or the next day. – So you really don’t know
what’s on your calendar for next week? – You could hook all
the electrodes up to me, I’ve no idea. And that’s on purpose
because I don’t wanna be looking past you at the next person because people could
figure that out like that. – So that gives me, it makes me nervous even thinking about it because I’m not just
thinking about next week but the week after that. And at the same time
people could probably say, I am looking past them at
times, I am distracted. So that’s a revolutionary thought to me not to look ahead. I’d like to push you for, of you have other ideas like that? If to not be distracted is one thing, would there be something else maybe. I haven’t thought about it. – Well, if you know who you’re becoming and let that person informed who you are. So I’m 59. Right, so I spent a lot
of time talking to Bob who’s 69. And Bob 69 years old hopefully, will have a bunch of grandchildren that are nine years, three months old. I’m just hoping, that’s my
big ambition, be a grandpa. And so what I do in deciding
what I’m gonna do now is I run that by Bob plus 10. So for the people that are listening add 10 years to your age. Spend a little bit more
time talking to that gal, that guy, and say who does he wanna be? And then to say, when I’m a grandpa I’m not gonna be with anybody so I’m gonna be with everybody right now. – It’s amazing. So you’re very passionate about Uganda. The people, you’re making
a big difference there. First of all, I’d like to know what exactly are you doing there, and then I’d also love to
know 10 years from now, when 10 years from now Bob is there what’s it gonna look like then? What kinda difference are you making? – Oh, 10 years from now you and I are exchanging grandkid
pictures, as I’ve seen. You’re living my dream. So in Uganda right now, we have a school with
about 1000 kids in it and we just want to make presidents. What are we doing? We’re looking at the horizon and saying we want Ugandan presidents. And so what we do right now? We just get the best teachers. And what do you do from there? You say incentivize those teachers. Say you make me a bunch of presidents, I’ll rock your life. We’re not cutting a deal. Just that whole idea
that I’ll rock your life. Don’t worry about it. And they’re so, if we
do that for the people that work for us, I ran a
law firm for I don’t know, quarter of a century, we had an agreement,
we would do this thing for one year at a time. And at the law firm had
a bunch of names on it there’s only one guy who owned it. (laughs) You can put all the
names you want in there but the whole idea is we just said this is what you get each year
and at the end of the year I’ll give you whatever you want. And if you think it’s a bad deal, or I was a tight wad, just quit. Like there’s no law firm
to quit, it doesn’t exist. So one of the things, I’m a gift giver. I love doing that,
that’s my love language. And so instead of
cutting deals with people point towards the horizon and say, it’ll work out great for you. This is where I’m headed,
this is the two pound eggplant and just say, let’s go in
that direction if you want. But I don’t wanna coax people, I don’t wanna cajole people into it. I don’t wanna try to
advocate people into it. I wanna say this is where I’m going and I’d love to have
you along for the trip. But it’s like Uber, if
you don’t wanna go there just take a different cab. (laughs) – So I love hearing your stories and what’s one of your favorite stories that happened the last year
through your work in Uganda that would inspire me
to even wanna know more. – Oh, I’ll tell you in Uganda, this idea of working
with difficult people. So we started trying death penalty cases against witch doctors, and
for a pretty upbeat guy that comes as kind of a like wow. Like, we have gears. I think you have gears too. So this whole justice
thing, like God loves kids. But he loves justice too. There’s no love without justice, but there is no justice without love. And so we started a witch
doctor school after this. I would send out word on the Bush radio that the Consul General
for Uganda is in town and I command every witch doctor to come, and Craig they come, and
they’re creepy, creepy dudes. They make little dolls that look like me and stick stuff in it. It’s nuts. But one of the things I want to do is to teach them how to read and write. We don’t need to teach them
how to be witch doctors they already know. We teach them how to read and write, and the only books they have are the Bible and Love Does. – Wow. – They’re reading a Times book. But I asked these witch doctors this idea of how do you lead in a way that doesn’t make you dead
at the end of the day? And if you sacrifice children, that will not end well for you. And so I’ve actually
gotten to know their names. And there’s something beautiful about knowing people’s names. Think of Jesus. I mean Mary runs to the tomb,
she thinks Jesus is a gardener and he just gives the
shortest sermon ever, he just says her name, Mary. And I just wanna, what
rings true in my mind is if you don’t know somebody’s
name, don’t correct him. So there something beautiful
about knowing people’s names before you give them
some words of correction. Talk to me more about that your book Love Does was
a runaway bestseller, New York Time Bestseller. Your brand new book, Everybody Always is showing the same kind of interest. People are so passionate about it. You talk a lot about
impacting people’s lives not just by talking about
love, but by living love. From a leadership perspective, how does that play in? Can you be firm and loving? – Oh yeah, all day long. You can actually say, we’re
not gonna do that with a smile. And you just get so much
further with honey than vinegar. And it’s not being fake. It’s just saying, like will
actually it’s a terrific idea that we’re just not gonna do. We’re gonna go in this direction but you can just thank me. You can actually be genuine and honest but you have clarity
about why you’re doing what you’re doing. So if you know every day, feet hit the floor, why
am I doing what I’m doing. Because if you’re doing it
for applause, join the circus. If you’re doing it because
you want to point people in a direction that will save their lives then I would say join Jesus. – So if you’ve got someone
who’s a brand-new leader and says, “I wanna just demonstrate “that I care for people, “but I don’t wanna be too soft.” Because kinda like you said it, you gotta get the job done, or you don’t get to work here. What practical advice would you have for a leader to show love, but yet to do it in a way that you still, not buddy buddy you’re the boss but you are showing that
you care for people. – A couple things bring to mind. This whole idea of taking
notes on everything. Being super engaged, like uber engaged. I bet I send myself 60 emails a day. Like literally, I sent
10 on the way over here. Just things I was thinking about. You could send an email
about why bananas are yellow, but I think I would ask another like more difficult question. So why am I doing what I’m doing? Am I just channeling this like kind of I wanna get the approval of my father or I want to get the
acknowledgment from somebody else or looking for validation. I would ask some of those
questions of yourself quietly. And then when you have a
moment to reflect on that, to reflect on these things and to say why am I doing what I’m doing. So this idea of an engaged life and then, calendar everything. For a guy who doesn’t keep a
calendar, you know what I do I don’t counter birthdays
and like all these holidays. What I do is I calendar
one year from the worst day of each of my friends lives. Like literally, there’s a friend who just messed up really big and really publicly and it was about four years ago, I call him every year on the
anniversary of that mess. And I don’t even know if
he knows that it’s the end ’cause I don’t tell him, like
this is the anniversary date. But I just tell him,
look how far you’ve come. And we just like talk, it’s
like the highlight reel. Look at all the things I’ve
seen emerge in your life that kind of living intentionally and you know why you’re
doing what you’re doing. I just wanna counter, it
reminds me to have some hope when I have a bad day,
because I’ve had a couple. – Yeah, that’s interesting
because most of us think about what will be normal, but you’re actually saying,
let’s express love creatively in a time where maybe someone was hurting and they’re not gonna expect that too, which is gonna be really, really big. Speaking of big, one of the things I love about you, anytime I’m around, I’ll walk
away inspired to think bigger. A lot of us are trying to think about how we can change our ways or some habits. You’re thinking about changing
countries and nations. Talking about thinking big, how do you inspire people to
think just not about today, not about just our own little world, but think much bigger and broader? – Well, one of these
things is to just assume you don’t need permission
for all these things. Like we just did a food drop in Somali. There’s a group of
people that are isolated by Al Qaeda’s arm they’re Al-Shabaab. 10,000 of them in the Western Desert and they’d cut off, they drew
a 14 mile circle around them and there’s like, you’ll all die. We’re just cutting off all the food. So we took that Love Does money, we chartered a plane from
the World Food Program. Out of Italy, we filled
it full of food in Nairobi we flew right over their
heads and land on the sand. (laughs) What could possibly go wrong. But like that whole idea of
just assume you have permission. We didn’t ask anybody for permission. Hungry people, feed them. And here’s the deal, God isn’t dazzled when we go across an ocean, he’s wowed when we go across the street. When you go across the
office, when you go across like to somebody you’ve avoided. If you’re in college, go across the campus to the wonky teacher and
do it with gratitude. That idea, find one thing that you can see in them, some spark of maybe some God’s imprint in their life. And so this isn’t this kind of squishy, like just think happy thoughts stuff, I’m a trial lawyer, but I’m trying to change who I used to be into more of who I am becoming. And a lot of times in leadership, we end up spending time
being who we used to be and over identifying with our failures and to saying who we becoming. I wanna talk to Bob plus 10. Know who that guy is,
and now we got a game. – So good, so good. I wanna ask about one of
the lines from your book. You say this, “We don’t need to call “everything we do ministry.” You say, “Just call it Tuesday.” – Oh heck yeah. – Tell me about that. – Oh man, I think it
comes from insecurity, but I found myself doing these things and then making a big deal about it. And I just don’t think that that’s the way Jesus talked about it. He just said just go do these things because I said that would
just add beautiful things to people’s lives if you did those. So I think I told you before, I had this webpage that
said saving a generation of Ugandans. (laughs) I had a couple hundred kids
in a school out of 41 million, that ain’t a generation. And so I was thinking, what
makes me like overstate what I’m doing? Or it said, serving the
poorest of the poor. Like I’m stepping over poor people, like get out of here you poser. Like I want the poorest of the poor as if like a loving
just merely poor people wouldn’t be enough. And I had to ask myself,
where does that come from? And it comes from being insecure. And so what I’ve tried
to do is dial that back to say why am I doing what I’m doing. Just constantly. And I don’t get in this
Eddie of introspection I just to say wanna
get clarity about this. My dad told me when I was growing up, that what rattlesnakes do is they get on the other side of these logs. And so when you step on top of the log, you gotta step way out. ‘Cause the rattlesnake will
bite you on the heel otherwise. I’m 59 years old, I’ve
never seen a rattlesnake. Every single log that I get on top, I step three feet out, because I think a snake’s gonna bite me. My dad was trying to express love, but what he did by
mistake is instill fear. And so as leaders, sometimes we’re trying to express love towards people by giving the words of correction, what we’re actually
doing is instilling fear. And then you ask why
they act in peculiar ways because you’ve scared them to death. They think there’s a
snake under every rock, ’cause you unloaded on them
because you’re just insecure. So there’s these beautiful
words, like I’m sorry. (laughs) That was old Bob, I keep
trying to put them on the bus he keeps showing up on my doorstep. And so to say that was actually,
I’m not making an excuse I’m giving you a return address. And the man I want to be is a guy that would encourage
you about what you just did that rocked, let me tell you why. – So good, that’s so good. Your book, Everybody Always. If there’s one big take away that you hope that your readers will have, what would you say it is? – Oh, it would be to love
people who creep you out. (laughs) Because you’re one of them. The people that I’ve been
spending my whole life avoiding were the ones that Jesus actually spent his whole life engaging in. So where I’ve just been polite
and distant with people, I think what is changing in me, new Bob is to say draw a little
bit closer to them. To say what can I learn? And there’s some wrong minded people. There’s some people that are
actually toxic and dangerous. And you’ll know who they are, but it isn’t everybody
who disagrees with you. There’ll be some people that you actually have
a different viewpoint. Like engage them with love. And when love has an agenda,
it ain’t love anymore. So your agenda isn’t to
change them into this person or change them, just like love them and just be curious about them. Like, wow, that’s a really
different viewpoint. I don’t have it very
often, but I’m on twitter and I’ll like read
scripture in the morning and I’ll send one tweet. I’ll never give a Bible verse, like if you want a Bible
verse, read the Bible it’s full of them. What I’ll do, is I’ll just
say things that are true because Paul said check
everything, against scripture. So, I’ll say then, every once in a while I’ll get a second year seminary
student write back and say, something just a little wonky. And I don’t think bad things. So I go in their feed, and
I’ll make them my teacher. And I’ll just say, like
what’s one worldview that they have that I
can actually learn from? I’m not trying to justify
what a swell guy I am and how they get it wrong. I’ll literally make them my teacher and then as soon as I’ve
done it, I block them. (laughs) It’s like a going away party. It’s terrific. So that would be a way to engage people without creeping anybody out. You don’t have to engage
in all these arguments. We got such a little time here on earth I’m not gonna spend it
arguing with people. – Well, I wanna tell you
thank you for who you are, for the way you inspire
me and so many others. Congratulations on your
new book, Everybody Always. I will continue to
promote it and all you do. – Oh, thanks a million. – Thanks for your time, your
investment in our audience and I appreciate and
honor you in every way. – Oh, thanks a million. – Thank you for joining us at the Craig Groeschel leadership podcast. If you wanna go even
deeper into this episode and get the leadership
guide or show notes, you can go to
live.church/leadershippodcast. You can also sign up to
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subscribe to this podcast, rate and review it on iTunes and share with your
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10 thoughts on “Q&A with Bob Goff: Becoming an Authentic Leader – Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast

  1. I am happy Bob is doing work in Uganda. I am also thoughtfully considering his words. I am going to listen to this over and over. Thank Pastor Craig, your wisdom and knowledge is extremely helpful. Bless you two great leaders.

  2. Would of loved to hear Bob say it is important to be in close relationship with other men to maintain accountability. I'm sure he does just listening to him. He seems very at peace with what he stands for. Love the vibe that being leader is about actually leading. Not from a place of superiority but confidence. That is achieved through relationships.

  3. The interview questions you asked were spot on! Loved hearing someone pick Bob's brain and just gain wisdom from him!!

  4. But some leaders are not directly responsible for hiring and firing. The Chair of a department, for example, leads their peers.

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