Mission to Multiplication

I attended a workshop last year on the topic of capacity. The presenter, Dr Tom Lambshead, brought together several propositions in a way that really highlighted the essential chain of elements that enable moving from a clearly defined mission to becoming multipliers and seeing achievement and expansion occur. Continue reading “Mission to Multiplication”

Follower-Focused Servant Leadership, Part 2

In order to prevent ‘servant leadership’ from becoming an unhelpfully ambiguous concept, we’ll continue our discussion of what servant leadership can look like. Last time (see Part 1), we highlighted 3 caveats for would-be servant leaders. Below are a few avenues for what it might look like to lead by serving (or perhaps to serve while leading?). Continue reading “Follower-Focused Servant Leadership, Part 2”

Follower-Focused Servant Leadership, Part 1

In conversation with a colleague recently, I discovered how broad the notion of ‘servant leadership’ has become. From Greenleaf’s presentation—from which I would summarize servant leadership as being focused on the development of the organization and its followers—to simple notions of exhibiting varying degrees of humility or altruism, ‘servant leadership’ is in danger of becoming so broad and ambiguous of a concept that it will lose relevance as a helpful platform for communication and reflection. Continue reading “Follower-Focused Servant Leadership, Part 1”

The Language of Followership

Another of my lockdown reads has been Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell. I found his case studies very entertaining and his observations intriguing. But from a followership perspective, I found his seventh chapter, “The Ethnic Theory of Plane Crashes,” to be the most significant. Continue reading “The Language of Followership”

Am I Growing?

As I mentioned last time, although my schedule hasn’t lightened during this season, I am continuing to make certain decisions to engage in various reflective exercises with the time that I do have available.

I was gifted a copy of the book Younique, by Will Mancini, which was just released earlier this year. I’m finding it a helpful companion for personal reflection on, and articulation of, my passions, values, and other related matters.

But one portion especially struck me from the perspective of followership. Continue reading “Am I Growing?”

The Convictions of Harry Potter

While my own life and work haven’t slowed down amidst covid-19 in order to allow for extra Netflix time, I have been on a quest to explore some of the modern cinematic epics. (So far, none of them holds a candle to Star Wars, though I am a child of the 80s!)

Along the way, I completed the 8-film Harry Potter series, and I came across this short bit of dialogue in the final film.

hp8Two characters are standing in a window, observing a massive horde assaulting the castle-school, and preparing to do their part to defend it. One of them, wizard Kingsley Shacklebolt remarks that it might be helpful to have one or two more defenders standing with them.

Then, Remus Lupin (who happens to be a werewolf) states, “It is the quality of one’s convictions that determines success, not the number of followers.”

When Kingsley asks who said that (undoubtedly hoping it’s some credible sage), Remus answers, “Me.” So unless we’re prepared to take a half-man, half-wolf at his word, perhaps we need to evaluate this statement before we simply assume that it’s true. Continue reading “The Convictions of Harry Potter”

Followership according to NASA

With many leaders and followers operating under unusual circumstances due to the covid-19 epidemic, some expertise was sought from those who work under the most unusual circumstances of all: space-dwelling NASA astronauts.

NASA experts developed a list of 5 ‘expeditionary behaviors’ which they have found contribute to their people being “happy, productive, and successful.” While they say that their strategies “can be applied to any situation that involves working remotely as a group,” my opinion is that they are actually universally applicable, and would be good for us to keep in mind in any of our leader-follower circumstances. Continue reading “Followership according to NASA”

Followers can be Multipliers

My supervisor recently had us all read Liz Wiseman’s book Multipliers; it’s a fairly straightforward encouragement to leaders for them to lead in such a way as to encourage (‘multiply’) the best contributions from their followers while avoiding ‘diminishing’ behaviors.

51mi+INl5SLFrom a followership perspective, I very much appreciated Chapter 8, “Dealing with Diminishers.” Within this leadership manual, Wiseman addresses this chapter to followers, with some concrete strategies for how to get out of negative cycles in unhealthy leader-follower dynamics, and ways to maintain one’s sanity—and even improve the situation—if you work under a diminishing boss.

The more ironic thing than finding a follower-focused chapter in a leadership book, is that I found much of her advice to accord with the leader-focused chapter in my followership book! Continue reading “Followers can be Multipliers”

Following with a Limp

I appreciate when books help to give us proper perspective and to remind us of our humanity. There is no lack of leadership materials that paint big visions of people who can change the world, who can be anything they want to be if they just try hard enough. There’s no gap in the literature of extolling the inherent hero-nature and nearly superhuman qualities of leaders.

41Hqu2nvTKL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_One book that helps to remind us of our human realities is Leading with a Limp, by Dan Allender. Thankfully, it’s not just an exercise in humility, but a guidebook for working in spite of, and because of, our limitations.

However, leaders aren’t the only ones who limp. Leaders aren’t the only ones with limitations. Continue reading “Following with a Limp”

Avenues of Influence

It’s commonplace to say that ‘leadership is influence’; indeed some of the best-known authors use exactly that sentiment as their core definition for what it means to be a leader.

As I’ve written elsewhere (A Leader is… and Leader: the ideal human being?), while influence is one of the aspects of leading well, it’s not because that’s a core leadership function, but rather because influence is exerted by every excellent contributor within an organization, whether they have a leadership role/function or not. Excellent leaders and followers alike are to be people of influence. Continue reading “Avenues of Influence”

Submission Successful

It’s often a dirty word. From a debasing perspective on personal worth or identity, to deviant sexual practices, there’s a lot of baggage attached to the word “submission.”

And yet, I think it’s vital that we do the hard work to overcome these skewed views and to invest the notion of submitting with all the positivity and encouragement that we possibly can. Continue reading “Submission Successful”

Resolved! Contribute Something…

We’ve come to that peculiar time of the year…when we think about next year. Although there’s nothing magical about having to hang up a new calendar, the change from one year to the next always seems to bring an incentive for change, for new commitment. All those good ideas we’ve had along the way for some reason can’t be implemented immediately; they always have to wait until January 1st…and then usually fizzle out by the 15th.

When I’m asked to summarize my thoughts on excellent followership, I often boil it down to one simple commitment: contribute something. Continue reading “Resolved! Contribute Something…”