We’ll continue our exploration of various implementations of servant leadership begun in the previous post, where we examined “serve while leading” and “lead while serving.”
Whereas the notion of ‘while’ indicated somewhat parallel notions and activities of service and leadership operating within one’s role, the reality we explored is that more often they meld or mask one another and so lose their respective strengths, and responsibilities.
In this post, we’ll explore the more impactful dynamic of ‘by’ rather than ‘while.’ Continue reading “Servant ~by~ Leadership”
The more time I spend with the concept of servant leadership, the more I find it to be going the way of the notion of ‘leadership’ generally: regularly defined as including nearly every positive virtue imaginable, so that it becomes an amorphous and unhelpful catch-all category which somehow still receives nods of affirmation as a worthwhile perspective. We like the sound of the term and have decided to elevate the idea, even though we usually don’t know exactly what we’re talking about. (See: Leader: the ideal human being?)
Following on from our recent 2-part series on Follower-Focused Servant Leadership, in this post and the following one, I’ll offer four additional perspectives on ‘servant leadership,’ each of which seems to be occasionally intended when using the term, and yet they are significantly different ways of leading, in my opinion. Continue reading “Servant ~while~ Leadership”
I watched a TV series recently which explored various facets of the US President’s work, including his special modes of transportation (Air Force One plane, Marine One helicopter, ‘The Beast’ limousine, and even Ground Force One—the President’s tour bus!) and meeting spaces (e.g. the White House Situation Room).
Amidst all of the special technology and equipment employed in each of these work spaces, what struck me was that the most specialized and precious technology was associated with communication—keeping the President in constant contact with advisors, military, etc. is deemed absolutely vital. He must be able to talk to anybody at anytime, from anywhere.
Despite all the faults of the US government, they seem to have one thing right: communication is at the heart of all leadership and followership, all group endeavors. And it’s something to be invested in, protected, uninterrupted, and guaranteed. Continue reading “Collaboration Requires Communication”
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”
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”
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.
From 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”
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.
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”
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”
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”
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”
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”
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”