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?”

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”

A Followership View of Servant Leadership: Ch 1-B

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

After surveying the beginning of Chapter 1, we continue by starting to explore the nearly two dozen short essays that Greenleaf presents under the chapter heading of “The Servant as Leader.” We’ll examine these essays over the course of a few posts, so as to be sure to interact with a number of the most important ideas as followers. Continue reading “A Followership View of Servant Leadership: Ch 1-B”

A Followership View of Servant Leadership: Intro

My “to-read” pile seems to grow without bounds. Within the last year, I’ve added 9 new shelves of space, and both bookcases already are full, with several volumes piled on top of each. Any New Year’s Resolution of “I’m not buying any more books until I read the ones I’ve got” is completely useless; I just can’t help passing up a good recommendation or snapping up a nice price on a used book online.

servantleadership-2One of the books I’ve had for some time is Robert Greenleaf’s Servant Leadership. Although I’ve written previously about his general ideas, I have yet to make the effort to really digest this important work.

The time has finally come. Continue reading “A Followership View of Servant Leadership: Intro”

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: Leader-Follower Lists

One of my favorite activities when working with groups to inspire thinking about leadership and followership is to do some simple brainstorming to consider the various qualities, characteristics, responsibilities, and expectations that we attach to these two different people/roles. And to compare and contrast those lists.

In order to facilitate that, we’ve created a simple worksheet that you can use for your own personal reflection and group dialogue. Continue reading “New Free Resource: Leader-Follower Lists”

New Free Resource: Followership Self-Evaluation

Many of us regularly describe the work of personal development and growth as a “journey.” One thing that’s true of any trip is that it begins somewhere. For a GPS app to be able to plot your route to your destination, it has to be able to determine your current location.

Similarly, as we engage in the work of change and transformation, knowing where we are currently is essential for identifying where we’d like to go, the best course of action to take, the appropriate vehicles to use, as well as some of the challenges that might harass us while we’re trying to get there.

Continue reading “New Free Resource: Followership Self-Evaluation”

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”

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?”

Followership is Not New

I had a recent interaction with a website editor that made me smile.

In creating the content tags to be used for future posts, the editor didn’t want to include ‘followership’ as one possibility because it’s too new of a term and thus needs further development and explanation; he posited that readers will need instruction and understanding before they’ll connect with the concept.

Being personally passionate about the topic of followership, I must admit that my initial reaction was umbrage, a bit annoyed and aggrieved that something so intrinsic to life, work, and relationships could be thought to be too new to highlight. But eventually, as I reflected on the journey of ‘followership’, I smiled. Continue reading “Followership is Not New”

A Critical Oversight in ‘Team’

It’s often said: There’s no ‘I’ in ‘team’. When we think about team, we’re supposed to think about the collective unit, a group joined together, without individual ambitions getting in the way.

But, we don’t actually do that.

Nor should we. Continue reading “A Critical Oversight in ‘Team’”