At Our Best When We’re Out of Sync

My wife and I are currently expecting the birth of our first child. As a result, we’re taking more walks than usual, in order to encourage our little one to make her arrival (see my video on the author page). We enjoy walking while holding hands, and my wife has made a keen observation: it’s most comfortable for us to walk together when we’re exactly out of step with one another. Continue reading “At Our Best When We’re Out of Sync”

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Sheep & Sheepdogs

Given the option of being labeled a sheep or a sheepdog, which would you rather be?

Being called a sheep is perhaps the most common negative image of followership–often intended to portray mindlessness, weakness, simplicity.

Who wouldn’t rather be a powerful and productive sheepdog? Continue reading “Sheep & Sheepdogs”

Significance: From Potential to Participation

In our exploration of followership, we have oftentimes addressed the aspect of identity: followership is not merely an occupation, but a deeper part of who we are and what we have to offer.

Having a firm grasp on one’s identity is extremely valuable; being able to clearly answer the question “Who am I?” provides an important resource for participating with excellence and making your necessary contributions.

But there is an additional question to address. Continue reading “Significance: From Potential to Participation”

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”

What does it mean to be excellent?

I write frequently about the idea of excellence. Throughout my book Embracing Followership, I emphasize that what we’re after is excellent followership–not mere followership, or mediocre followership, or satisfactory followership. Excellent.

Let’s consider for a moment this idea of excellence. Continue reading “What does it mean to be excellent?”

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…”

A Necessary Contribution

One of the struggles I’ve faced in my own followership is wondering whether my contribution is significant, or even needed. When we see ourselves as just one cog in a large organizational machine, it may be easy for us to dismiss the value of our participation. If we perceive our role as being nothing terribly special, if we overlook our personal uniqueness in terms of talents, experiences, and perspective, then we may conclude that our involvement is optional.

If we don’t show up, we won’t be missed. Continue reading “A Necessary Contribution”

Lessons from Lemmings

One of the first reflections that helped to crystallize my thoughts on followership was the result of playing a video game in my youth which featured lemmings, small rodents which have the erroneous reputation for mindlessly throwing themselves off of cliffs in droves.

Lemmings became a symbol for mindless behavior, the desperate state of being totally reliant upon someone else for guidance, to protect you from yourself, and to hold your hand in order to get any meaningful task accomplished. In our modern society, those saviors were seen as the leaders, and the lemmings were known as followers.

As followers, we have the opportunity to correct this erroneous reputation Continue reading “Lessons from Lemmings”