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: Ch 1-A

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

After a brief but encouraging introduction (my reflection here), we head into the first (lengthy) chapter of the main body of Servant Leadership: A Journey into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness. Continue reading “A Followership View of Servant Leadership: Ch 1-A”

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”

Motivation for Followership

We’re already half-way through the first month of the new year: how are your Resolutions holding up? Sticking with that new habit, implementing that new routine, stretching yourself in new ways, making wiser choices, becoming healthier (physically, mentally, emotionally, relationally)?

Motivation is a prevalent theme at this time of year. Where there is hope and anticipation for what the next 12 months might hold, there’s the opportunity to build upon some intrinsic motivation to try new things and implement new practices.

On the other hand, for those that made a fresh start in some aspect of life on January 1st, question marks may already begin to surface about perpetuating the initial motivation for hundreds of more days. Continue reading “Motivation for Followership”

Leadership as Representation

When I was about 13 years old, I spent a week in my State House of Representatives serving as a pageboy. It was my first true exposure to government—and quickly led me to the conclusion that I had no desire for a future in politics!

But upon reflection, it was also one of my clearest opportunities to witness formal leadership. I sat in a privileged position on the House floor, watching as the machinations of government grinded away while I awaited a summons to run an errand on behalf of one of the legislators. From there, I observed the reality of what it can mean to be a representative. Continue reading “Leadership as Representation”

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?”

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: Leadership Self-Evaluation

Personal development and self-awareness are two critical aspects of both our leadership and followership. If we don’t know who we are, who we can become, and make some effort to get there, the quality of our contributions, in any role or under any title, will always be something less than what they could be. Continue reading “New Free Resource: Leadership Self-Evaluation”

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”

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)”