New Free Resource: What would you do if someone gave you…?

I’m not a dreamer. I’m not a visionary. Possibilities elude me. Passions are often fairly subdued. And yet, all of these things are vital for me to be the best contributor I can be.

So, I decided to give myself some help. I created a reflective, conversational activity to stimulate my heart and mind to birth some vision and engender some possibilities about what I would like to see accomplished in and through my life. Continue reading “New Free Resource: What would you do if someone gave you…?”


No Ambition for Position

As 2016 closes out, it’s a common consideration to look ahead at 2017 and to think about plans, desires, and dreams for what next year will bring. Opportunities, changes, achievements…the clean slate of a new year seems to welcome them all.

“New Year’s Resolutions” are part and parcel of this season as well. What commitments will we make in order to best position ourselves to take advantage of the possibilities for the new calendar year? How will we motivate ourselves to be what we know we can be and do what we hope we can do? Continue reading “No Ambition for Position”

5 Gauges for Your Followership

There are a variety of jobs in the world. Some are by nature less intense than others. I’ve had several friends that have worked as late-night security guards at various buildings or housing developments. Although their presence was important, they often related to me that the job itself was not particularly intense: they regularly spent time reading books, studying for exams, or otherwise filling their attention while on the clock.

My employment experience in the non-profit world has been somewhat different. Not only is presence important, but the intensity is fairly high. I am rarely in a position of struggling to figure out how to fill my time simply to put in the required hours. More often, we face decisions about what to say no to, what to let go of, because there isn’t enough time or energy to do everything that we could possibly invest ourselves in. There’s no end to the relationships, the preparation, the communication, the meetings that we could involve ourselves with.

But how do we know when we’re outpacing ourselves? How do we know if we’re pushing ourselves too hard, for too long—overamping on our intensity in unhealthy and unsustainable ways? How do we know whether, in the course of our desire to be excellent contributors, we are actually stretching ourselves so thin that the quality of our followership is actually diminishing, even if our short-term output seems to be multiplying? Continue reading “5 Gauges for Your Followership”

Person of Integrity?

As an author, perhaps it’s appropriate that I like written communication. Texting, more so than phone calls, is comfortable to me. And although my work necessitates me spending several hours a week on the phone or Skype, it’s still email that carries the bulk of my interaction with others.

Perhaps that’s why I have 11 email addresses! Continue reading “Person of Integrity?”

Leader: the ideal human being?

During a recent conference workshop, I asked the attendees to make a list of the qualities, characteristics, and responsibilities of a leader/leadership.

Here’s a sampling of what they came up with: Continue reading “Leader: the ideal human being?”

Responding to a Leadership Wishlist

As a follower, what do you desire from your leader? What characteristics would be beneficial to you in your pursuit of following with excellence?

In 1994, Warren Bennis suggested that followers need three basic qualities from their leaders: “they want direction; they want trust; and they want hope.” Continue reading “Responding to a Leadership Wishlist”

Followership is…? (not Twitter!)

Followership. This blog, and many books, are focused on the topic of following. But what is it that we’re talking about?

The abundance of books on leadership, each of which offers its own definition of that concept, hasn’t really brought us any closer to a universally agreed-upon characterization of this fundamental idea. And honestly, this drives the mathematician/scientist side of me a little nuts.

So is there any hope for us to achieve something definitive for the notion of ‘followership’? Continue reading “Followership is…? (not Twitter!)”

Followership: Object or Identity?

I remember when my wife was diagnosed with coeliac disease. There was a little bit of a struggle to figure out how we would talk about it. Should she say, “I have coeliac disease” or instead, “I am coeliac”? (see my reflection here)

The basic question that was tugging at us was whether this is an object (something she may either possess or dispose of) or rather an aspect of identity, something that should be adopted and acknowledged as an essential or significant aspect of her personhood.

My own journey in followership raised a similar question. Continue reading “Followership: Object or Identity?”

Lead or Follow: which is easier?

I’ve spent most of my career up to this point in strictly a followership role, without any formal position of leadership. In that time, I don’t think I ever found myself saying of my leaders, “You guys don’t know how good you’ve got it; your role is so easy compared to mine.”

Having more recently stepped into a leadership role, I can now verify the degree of challenge and burden which I expect many leaders face.

But does that mean that leadership is harder than followership? Continue reading “Lead or Follow: which is easier?”

“We follow to find out.”

In the current theatrical release of the film Risen, a Roman soldier asks the disciples of Jesus of Nazareth—after His death and the discovery of the empty tomb—if the answer to what’s going on lies to the north, in Galilee.

Peter, the de facto spokesman for the disciples, replies, “We are followers. We follow to find out.”

Having studied a number of historical examples of followership (including various biblical figures), there is a subtle profundity in Peter’s response. Continue reading ““We follow to find out.””

Interview: Behind the Scenes with Senior Editor Rebecca Brant

One clear message in the book Embracing Followership: How to Thrive in a Leader-Centric Culture is the importance of relationship. All group endeavors require, in order to be successful, a healthy dynamic between leaders and followers as well as among fellow followers.

The production of any quality book requires a variety of input, perspectives, and expertise. One of the primary voices involved in working with me to produce Embracing Followership was my senior editor at Kirkdale Press, Rebecca Brant.

Rebecca took some time to reflect on her experience of working with me and the personal impact of the ideas contained within the book. Continue reading “Interview: Behind the Scenes with Senior Editor Rebecca Brant”

A Leader Is…

How do you complete that definition? What are the specific characteristics that define a leader? What are the requirements and opportunities that delineate leadership?

Looking around popular culture and workplace wisdom, we might easily expect to hear words like influence, responsibility, vision, and decisiveness.

I agree that these are qualities that are desirable in most leaders. But the truth is that these attributes are not exclusive to good leaders. Continue reading “A Leader Is…”