Can you see clearly now?

Vision. There’s no doubt it’s important. As an eyeglass-wearing photographer, I frequently think about the importance of being able to see.

One of the most common attributes ascribed to leadership is having a vision. I wholeheartedly agree that having a sense of where to go is a valuable group resource.

I just don’t think it’s the sole purview of leadership. Continue reading “Can you see clearly now?”

Leading to Follow

There’s no shortage of attempted definitions of leadership; you can find a few of my own musings across various posts on this blog.

But perhaps a more valuable exercise is to think about the purpose of leadership. Why do people lead? What does it achieve? Continue reading “Leading to Follow”

A Followership View of Servant Leadership: Afterword & Action

Concluding our reading of Robert Greenleaf’s classic work, from a followership perspective…

I’ve spent nearly 8 months reading and reflecting on this book; the first post in this series is dated January 23. It has surprised me in its presentation and encouraged me in its content…but I’m not entirely sure where to go next. Continue reading “A Followership View of Servant Leadership: Afterword & Action”

A Followership View of Servant Leadership: Ch 11 & 12

Continuing our reading of Robert Greenleaf’s classic work, from a followership perspective…

We come to my final reflection on Greenleaf’s writing, with one more post in this series to consider the Afterword (by Peter Senge) and present my own summation. Chapter 11 is entitled “An Inward Journey,” and Chapter 12 is the brief “Postscript.”

servantleadership-2Chapter 11 features an extended reflection on the Robert Frost poem “Directive”; I’ll simply highlight the most personally poignant theme: growth. Continue reading “A Followership View of Servant Leadership: Ch 11 & 12”

A Followership View of Servant Leadership: Ch 10

Continuing our reading of Robert Greenleaf’s classic work, from a followership perspective…

Three relatively brief chapters remain in our journey of Servant Leadership with Greenleaf. Chapter 10 bears the title, “America and World Leadership.” While several of the author’s international observations are likely still relevant several decades after they were penned, I find this chapter especially valuable in articulating realities that exist across any relational dynamic where there is a power differential. Continue reading “A Followership View of Servant Leadership: Ch 10”

A Followership View of Servant Leadership: Ch 9

Continuing our reading of Robert Greenleaf’s classic work, from a followership perspective…

Despite being in the final 50 pages of the book, Robert Greenleaf doesn’t let up on introducing new ideas and making strong calls to a life worth living. Chapter 9 is entitled “Servant Responsibility in a Bureaucratic Society,” and Greenleaf paints further pictures of institutional reality and describes the kind of lifestyle we should develop in order to be truly responsible and engaged servants .

Continue reading “A Followership View of Servant Leadership: Ch 9”

A Followership View of Servant Leadership: Ch 8

Continuing our reading of Robert Greenleaf’s classic work, from a followership perspective…

After exploring the topic of servant leadership (and followership) through the various spheres of education (chapter 5), foundations (chapter 6), and churches (chapter 7), Greenleaf now reflects on the lives of two people that he sees as examples of “Servant-Leaders” (the title of chapter 8). Continue reading “A Followership View of Servant Leadership: Ch 8”

A Servant Leadership Definition of Followership

Continuing our reading of Robert Greenleaf’s classic work, from a followership perspective… (this post continues the series in the place of ‘A Followership View of Servant Leadership: Chapter 7-B’)

pwr-fshipModern followership exploration is often attributed to Robert Kelley who published a few articles on the topic and produced The Power of Followership in 1992. He certainly was not the first to use the term (Eugene Habecker published in 1989 & 1990), but his work made the concept accessible and practical.

Robert Greenleaf’s book, Servant Leadership, was published in 1977—the 25th anniversary edition that I’m reading was also released in 1992. When I embarked on this series of reading through the lens of followership, I was completely unaware that, in Chapter 7 (“Servant Leadership in Churches”), I would come across a rather significant and specific exploration of ‘followership’. For all the impact his work has had on leadership thinking, it’s somewhat surprising to me that Greenleaf’s thoughts on followership have hardly ever surfaced—even in the contemporary works on followership that I’ve read. Continue reading “A Servant Leadership Definition of Followership”

A Followership View of Servant Leadership: Ch 7-A

Continuing our reading of Robert Greenleaf’s classic work, from a followership perspective…

While most leadership literature is undoubtedly aimed at those operating in business, I applaud Greenleaf for also exploring various non-profit spheres as well: education (chapter 5), foundations (chapter 6), and now in chapter 7, “Servant Leadership in Churches.” Continue reading “A Followership View of Servant Leadership: Ch 7-A”

The Dark Side of Followership

The contemporary emphasis on leadership has been referenced in nearly every recent article that I’ve read on the topic of followership; to be honest, I’m a bit tired of statements along the lines of “why is no one talking about followership?”—clearly, some of us are! (See my followership bibliography & recommended reads, and the excellent Wikipedia page on followership.)

While I appreciate that some writers are indeed trying to call attention to followership, I am afraid that there is one aspect of ‘leadership’ (really, humanity) that is not translating over, and which is potentially leading to an imbalanced perspective on leadership and followership.

The specific aspect I’m worried about is the dark side of followership: the realities and implications of unhealth in the lives of followers. Continue reading “The Dark Side of Followership”

Be a Bridge

A brief interlude in our ‘Followership View of Servant Leadership‘ series….

I’ve lived in Wales for 7 years (as of last week!); my daughter was born here, but I’ve dabbled only very lightly in the Welsh language (Croeso! Bore da! Diolch yn fawr!)*. However, I recently began to explore the culture a bit more by beginning to read a classic collection of Welsh myths and folktales entitled The Mabinogion.

In my consideration of followership, I am well-aware of the cross-cultural realities that make leadership and followership look differently in various global contexts; I dedicate Chapter 10 of my book to touching on these truths in hopes that we might all be able to set appropriate expectations and practices as we lead and follow across diverse ethnicities, worldviews, and communication styles.

Despite the importance of the differences, I love it when there are universal truths and wisdom that emerge, sound practices and perspectives relevant across time, space, and scenario. Continue reading “Be a Bridge”

A Followership View of Servant Leadership: Ch 6

Continuing our reading of Robert Greenleaf’s classic work, from a followership perspective…

I appreciate Greenleaf’s approach in considering the application of servant leadership within various spheres of operation–business, education, churches, etc. I find it unique that among those spheres, he considers foundations; charitable trusts rarely seem to be singled out as special entities, and yet Greenleaf sees enough importance to focus Chapter 6 on “Servant Leadership in Foundations.”

The core sentiment within this chapter hinges on the reality that foundations exist to give rather than to serve (p.217). From this stems a few thoughts that Greenleaf explores, and which I think are relevant for followers of all stripes to consider. Continue reading “A Followership View of Servant Leadership: Ch 6”