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…”

Excerpt: ‘In Group’ Followership

Having spent a little time in Japan, one concept that I’ve learned about is the sense of there being an ‘in group’ and an ‘out group’. There are people with whom you are connected–by commonality, experience, relationship–and there is everybody else.

Without a strong notion of association as a member of a particular ‘in group’, we are almost certainly condemned to struggle in our followership. If we view ourselves as separate, outside, or different from the group, we will be hard-pressed to fully participate and relate–and thus unleash our very best contributions.

I share this thought in Chapter 20 (titled “Association”) of Embracing Followership: Continue reading “Excerpt: ‘In Group’ Followership”

Humility or Unity: Which Comes First?

A King born in a stable. This season of Advent, leading up to the climax of Christmas, highlights for us the unfathomable surprise to be found in the marriage of majesty and the mundane.

There are few more poignant depictions of humility in Western culture than to behold a monarch being birthed in a manger.

Humility–and its accompanying virtues of submission and honor–are foundational concepts for us as we think about following with excellence. Insisting that you are superior when compared to your peers or superiors will quickly close off many opportunities for your contribution and influence.

For me, humility and unity go hand-in-hand, but there is a bit of a chicken-and-egg conundrum here. Continue reading “Humility or Unity: Which Comes First?”

Urgency vs. Ownership

What motivates you to action? What prompts you to get involved, to put forth the effort, to spend the sweat to get a task accomplished?

I recently came across a video that was seeking to move people by developing a sense of urgency for the task at hand. The narrator quotes Harvard Professor John P. Kotter, author of What Leaders Really Do, saying “infecting others with a sense of urgency is the difference between effective and ineffective leadership.” (Kotter also wrote an entire book entitled A Sense of Urgency.)

This statement made me pause. Can you see some of the very strong assumptions underlying this assertion? Continue reading “Urgency vs. Ownership”

Yes or No?

How do you decide whether you should or shouldn’t do something? Apart from moral, legal, and ethical issues–when an opportunity comes up, how do you decide whether or not to do it?

This past week was a busy one for me. Leading up to having the final proof of Embracing Followership sent off to the printer on Friday meant that I needed to read through the entire book, twice. At 228 pages each time, that’s a lot of reading for me, and I read slowly.

How did I find the time to do so? I had to say no to other things that came up, things that may have been good and enjoyable, but which couldn’t take priority. Continue reading “Yes or No?”

Your Thoughts?…on Rest

Do you work in order to rest, or do you rest in order to work?

I devote one chapter of Embracing Followership to the concept of rest being a significant resource, one that’s necessary for us in order to follow with excellence. As I’ve contemplated the idea, I’ve come across at least two perspectives on rest. Continue reading “Your Thoughts?…on Rest”