A Followership Definition of Servant Leadership?

As a mathematician, I know that definitions are important. Precision and clarity about what we’re talking about can mean the difference between truth/reality and error/misconception.

But as a follower, as a leader, as someone committed to personal development, I see that it’s possible that we might get so bogged down in definitions that we never actually get to the point of wrestling with the real issues and engaging in real growth, transformation, and change. Continue reading “A Followership Definition of Servant Leadership?”

Followership: Ability & Attitude

As the concept of followership gains traction in contemporary thinking, it’s undoubtedly going to face one of the afflictions that plagues discussions of leadership: how do we define what we’re talking about? Continue reading “Followership: Ability & Attitude”

Excellent Leadership through Servant Followership

Despite being originally described by Robert Greenleaf in 1977, the concept of ‘servant leadership’ remains a popular consideration in the modern exploration of organizational dynamics. This bears out in my own experience: by far the most popular post on this website is our feature exploring Servant Leadership & Excellent Followership.

I’ll be delivering a seminar in a few weeks on the notion of being a follower through the lens of being a leader. Part VI of my book Embracing Followership: How to Thrive in a Leader-Centric Culture is dedicated to this topic, and I find my thinking continuing to both expand and refine in this area. Continue reading “Excellent Leadership through Servant Followership”

New Free Resource: Surfacing Expectations

If you’ve tracked with this blog over the years, or spent time with the Embracing Followership books, you’ll likely have noticed that there are several significant threads which continually arise as we explore following with excellence.

Relationship and Communication are two of these essential themes. If you flip through the Subject Index at the back of the book, and use the number of page references as one indicator of most significant ideas, do you know which topic comes in as next most important? Continue reading “New Free Resource: Surfacing Expectations”

Enhancing Excellent Followership as a Distance Leader: Part 3 (feedback)

In our previous two posts, we looked at trust and clarity as two essential aims that a distance leader can undertake in order to encourage excellent followership among remote followers. For our final exploration in this series, we consider feedback. Continue reading “Enhancing Excellent Followership as a Distance Leader: Part 3 (feedback)”

Enhancing Excellent Followership as a Distance Leader: Part 2 (clarity)

We looked previously at how a distance leader can establish trust as a core aspect of encouraging excellent followership. We now turn to the importance of clarity.

Throughout Embracing Followership, the thread of communication is an essential component of the leader-follower dynamic. Certainly if that dynamic is to be maintained across a geographic distance, the investment in communication becomes all the more critical, and the leader must be intentional to address the particular challenges to be found within distance communication. Continue reading “Enhancing Excellent Followership as a Distance Leader: Part 2 (clarity)”

Enhancing Excellent Followership as a Distance Leader: Part 1 (trust)

I wrote previously about the challenges inherent in the common contemporary dynamic of leaders and their followers often working together without being co-located (see “Does Distance Leadership Beget Virtual Followership?“). How do we follow well amidst the temptations and challenges of laboring out of site of our superior (and our colleagues)?

This question also needs to be examined from the other side of relationship: what can distance leaders do in order to facilitate following with excellence? What are the unique challenges and opportunities that they can address in order to make the most of being remote? Continue reading “Enhancing Excellent Followership as a Distance Leader: Part 1 (trust)”

Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way

As an American living in the UK for the last 6 years, I have ample opportunity to appreciate that—despite shared history and plentiful similarities—our two cultures are clearly distinct. The truth of us being “two peoples separated by a common language” is readily apparent, but there are many other stereotypes that characterize us as undeniably different in posture and perspective.

The British have an incredible comfort with queueing (waiting in line). It’s said that even if no one else is around, a lone Brit will still manage to form a queue! “Queue jumping” (cutting in line) is a major cultural faux pas, which draws uncharacteristically audible tuts of disapproval from mainstream cultural adherents.

On the other hand, Americans are not generally known as patient people. Instant results and responses, fast-paced lives, demanding words, action-oriented, impulsive, hot-heads…waiting on line is not generally high on any American’s list of preferred ways of handling a situation.

Although I don’t think that the British comfort with queueing is a testimony to some sort of natural virtue of patience, this point of divergence does highlight a perspective that appears across many cultures, encapsulated in the dictum “lead, follow, or get out of the way.” Continue reading “Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way”

Is your job easy? Do you want it to be?

I recall hearing a little phrase while growing up. “Do something you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

The sentiment is sweet: if you’re able to give yourself to a task/role that you’re passionate about and it can serve as a means of livelihood, then you will escape the drudgery that many adults face who perform a job merely to earn an income in order to survive.

Behind that little phrase, though, is a deeply-held value. Most people would rather that things feel easy. We don’t want our occupation to be hard. Get in, get out, go on vacation…with the least effort, bruising, or discomfort along the way. Continue reading “Is your job easy? Do you want it to be?”

Important Or Accessible? Why Not Both/And

I enjoy watching political dramas from time to time (The West Wing, Madam Secretary) and have made an observation: the people that are the most important tend to be the least accessible. Continue reading “Important Or Accessible? Why Not Both/And”

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…?”

Teams? Small Groups? What’s the difference?

With next week’s release of my second book, Embracing Followership: A Discussion Guide for Teams & Small Groups, it seems fitting that we explore a few definitions.

A book for teams and small groups? What’s the difference? Am I just repeating myself? Continue reading “Teams? Small Groups? What’s the difference?”