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”

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”

Author Interview

I was recently interviewed by Ken Gosnell of CEO Experience. Ken asked me a number of questions which touch on some of the most frequent points of confusion and exploration when it comes to followership. Continue reading “Author Interview”

New Free Resource: Leader’s Evaluation of Followership

In my personal experience, effective evaluation is one of the more challenging elements of organizational dynamics and ethos.

In the particular non-profit that I’ve served within for the last 13+ years, I would say that evaluation is one of our major weaknesses.

When I previously worked in college education, evaluation and review was commonplace, but it was questionable as to whether the right things were being evaluated in the right ways, and whether the evaluations led to any meaningful improvements. Continue reading “New Free Resource: Leader’s Evaluation of Followership”

New Free Resource: Culture Combination Considerations

As we consider the quality of our followership and our experience of pursuing following with excellence, there are two facets that we certainly can’t ignore as part of our relational dynamic: our personal culture, and the culture(s) of those we work alongside—our peers and our superiors. Continue reading “New Free Resource: Culture Combination Considerations”

Gower ponies - Allen Hamlin Jr

Leading from Behind

With the Advent/Christmas season beginning in just a few weeks, I find myself once again returning to thoughts of humility as they apply to leadership-followership (see my older post on Humility or Unity).

In Chapter 6 of Embracing Followership, on the contributions of followership, I list “Guiding from Behind.” Otherwise known as leading up, the idea is the value and opportunity for offering influence from a place at the back of the pack rather than the front of the line. Continue reading “Leading from Behind”

A Follower’s Rewarding Words

As we see the close of 2019 on the horizon, we’re in a season of gratitude. Canadians celebrated their Thanksgiving just over two weeks ago, and the USA will gorge itself on turkey and pumpkin pie at the end of this month. For me, the Advent/Christmas season continues that same thread of appreciation for what we’ve been given, for gifts received, for acts of kindness and generosity.

As a leader, I find myself thankful for the role my followers fill in gifting me with encouragement and perspective. Continue reading “A Follower’s Rewarding Words”

More in Common than Breakfast

As much as we value individualism, it seems to be that there is a strong push to ensuring that we each have at least some thread in common with others—whether we’re considering our workplace, community association, family, friends, or even in the context of the whole of humanity.

When we consider the leadership-followership dynamic and participation in an organization, establishing the reality of a common purpose (a topic I’ve written on several times) is one of the foundation stones for an effective relationship within which each person makes his or her particular contributions, in pursuit of a shared aim.

But stopping at the mere articulation of something we can all agree on isn’t going to give us the ideal context for excellent followership and our best contributions. Continue reading “More in Common than Breakfast”

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?”