I’m a fan of the Star Wars saga; as a boy who grew up in the 1980’s, I could hardly escape it.
While I will always treasure the original trilogy for the quality of their storytelling and special effects, I do appreciate the more recent films for the additional backdrop they create for this grand space opera.
Episode II, which was released in 2002 and entitled “Attack of the Clones”, has stirred up in me some recent thinking about followership. (And also taken me back to some of my original inspiration in considering followership: the rodents known as lemmings.)
In the film, a genetically engineered army is created. What caught my attention is that this army, composed entirely of soldiers cloned from a single original, consists of a wide variety of units and ranks. There are pilots and artillery specialists, tank drivers and special forces commandos. And there are captains and cannon fodder.
It made me ask the question, “How do you promote a clone?” Continue reading “How do you promote a clone?”
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”
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”
Honk! Honk! Honk!
I learned recently from a friend that geese in flight–in their famous “flying V” formation–honk almost continuously for a very definite purpose: encouragement & cooperation. Continue reading “Followership Encouragement”
In the current theatrical release of the film Risen, a Roman soldier asks the disciples of Jesus of Nazareth—after His death and the discovery of the empty tomb—if the answer to what’s going on lies to the north, in Galilee.
Peter, the de facto spokesman for the disciples, replies, “We are followers. We follow to find out.”
Having studied a number of historical examples of followership (including various biblical figures), there is a subtle profundity in Peter’s response. Continue reading ““We follow to find out.””
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?”
Tell me one more time: why am I going?
I’m off to a conference later this coming week. As I think about all the time, energy, and money it takes to fly far away and spend several days in very long meetings, the intimidation of it all could be fairly overwhelming for this introvert. I’m going to feel overfull–mentally and relationally–while at the same time feeling utterly empty–physically and perhaps emotionally.
I’m going to be exhausted. And yet, I know it’s all worth it.
Because presence is practically priceless. Continue reading “A Present of Presence”
I am excited that the development of the book is moving forward, and while I can’t share the entire work with you yet, I am enjoying the opportunity to provide you with a new excerpt from time to time to encourage your thinking about followership.
Last time, I shared with you that one of the core behaviors associated with excellent followership is simply participating in whatever your group or organization is doing. Today, I want to steer you towards one of the defining aspects of followership: followership is relationship.
I share these words at the very end of the book: Continue reading “Excerpt: Followership is Relationship”
If you had to choose, would you rather be in a spiderweb or a hamster wheel? Sure, hamsters are cute and fluffy, but their wheels don’t go anywhere. Perhaps no better, spiderwebs can be sticky and tricky, and perhaps a bit freaky.
I’ve been musing on the idea of “support” recently. In my current role at work, I consider my primary responsibility to provide support to the 5 men and women that report to me. The focus of my efforts and my first priority is to try to determine how I can position myself and deploy resources to assist them in fulfilling their jobs.
We might call that “downward support.” Continue reading “Excellent Followership: Spiderweb, Not Hamster Wheel”
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”