by Chris Cloud
The following interview is the fourth of a series of four interviews with missional business owners on the lessons they’ve learned about leadership.
Pete has established a chain of cafes and a hospitality training business in Asia. His business employs over 120 people and has trained staff for 50 other businesses.
1. What is your philosophy of leadership?
A test of leadership is that people around you are growing. If I want to look at whether my leadership is effective, I look around and see are my people growing as people, is their capacity increasing? Is my leadership creating capacity in others, making disciples, growing other leaders? That’s my benchmark, my measurement of leadership.
I realize now that a growing business is the only kind of business that can truly develop and grow people because it forces people to grow with the business, otherwise there’s a tendency to just stagnate and that doesn’t help anyone. Our business is growing fast, and it’s given so many people an opportunity to rise to the occasion and grow up with the business.
2. What experiences, people, or philosophies have most influenced the way you view and practice leadership?
My big brother has a big influence on me because of his style. He influences people, but it’s through humility. He’s the teaching pastor of a very large church, but he’s just another guy when we’re together.
My mother has also been a big influence – she has been our greatest fan and our greatest critic. Not in the sense that she’s always criticizing, but she knew you had more to give and could go higher. A secure home gives kids a good launching pad. Mom was always for me. She would praise little things like, “you are so helpful, the way you helped that person was so great…” She elevated us in a positive sense and she would definitely pull us aside and give us critical feedback as well. With my staff, I want them to know “I am for you, I want you to succeed so desperately” – then they are secure and I can help them “be more” rather than settle for mediocrity.
In business and in life, you have to first know yourself. What are your strengths? What are your passions? Don’t try to be someone else, or copy someone else’s business. Have a strong core identity and values, and then go and be the best version of yourself that you can be.
3. How has your view of leadership changed over your years leading a BAM company overseas?
I used to be a consensus builder, I like everybody happy, so I’ve led before in the past where it’s all hugs and “ra ra” and everybody likes you. However, but I’ve seen that fail and I realize that it requires more than just leading by consensus. I have to ask, “What’s the most loving thing I can do for this person, within the context of my company and business?” Sometimes the kindest thing I can do is really have a hard conversation with somebody and tell them “you are not measuring up”.
The weakest form of leadership is when I have to say, “I’m the boss” so I try not to operate that way.