A Followership View of Servant Leadership: Ch 7-A

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

While most leadership literature is undoubtedly aimed at those operating in business, I applaud Greenleaf for also exploring various non-profit spheres as well: education (chapter 5), foundations (chapter 6), and now in chapter 7, “Servant Leadership in Churches.” Continue reading “A Followership View of Servant Leadership: Ch 7-A”

The Dark Side of Followership

The contemporary emphasis on leadership has been referenced in nearly every recent article that I’ve read on the topic of followership; to be honest, I’m a bit tired of statements along the lines of “why is no one talking about followership?”—clearly, some of us are! (See my followership bibliography & recommended reads, and the excellent Wikipedia page on followership.)

While I appreciate that some writers are indeed trying to call attention to followership, I am afraid that there is one aspect of ‘leadership’ (really, humanity) that is not translating over, and which is potentially leading to an imbalanced perspective on leadership and followership.

The specific aspect I’m worried about is the dark side of followership: the realities and implications of unhealth in the lives of followers. Continue reading “The Dark Side of Followership”

Be a Bridge

A brief interlude in our ‘Followership View of Servant Leadership‘ series….

I’ve lived in Wales for 7 years (as of last week!); my daughter was born here, but I’ve dabbled only very lightly in the Welsh language (Croeso! Bore da! Diolch yn fawr!)*. However, I recently began to explore the culture a bit more by beginning to read a classic collection of Welsh myths and folktales entitled The Mabinogion.

In my consideration of followership, I am well-aware of the cross-cultural realities that make leadership and followership look differently in various global contexts; I dedicate Chapter 10 of my book to touching on these truths in hopes that we might all be able to set appropriate expectations and practices as we lead and follow across diverse ethnicities, worldviews, and communication styles.

Despite the importance of the differences, I love it when there are universal truths and wisdom that emerge, sound practices and perspectives relevant across time, space, and scenario. Continue reading “Be a Bridge”

A Followership View of Servant Leadership: Ch 3

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

This post will pick up on the topic of trustees (board members) which surfaced in Chapter 2, and is the focus of Chapter 3, “Trustees as Servants.”

As a follower, the most astounding aspect of Greenleaf’s presentation of the role of trustees is the weight of responsibility he places upon them to shape and engage with the organization that they’re governing. Continue reading “A Followership View of Servant Leadership: Ch 3”

A Followership View of Servant Leadership: Ch 2-B

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

Our previous post looked at Greenleaf’s vision of the institution; as we complete our examination of Chapter 2, we’ll look at some of his additional thoughts on leadership (following on from material in Chapter 1) which he offers in the context of “The Institution as Servant.”

Perhaps in summary, as I read Greenleaf’s thoughts, I see the role of leadership as one of “covering”: leaders providing an overarching (not overbearing!) function of connection (and sometimes protection) which ultimately serves to facilitate the excellent contributions of the followers. Continue reading “A Followership View of Servant Leadership: Ch 2-B”

A Followership View of Servant Leadership: Ch 1-C

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

We complete our consideration of Chapter 1 with this final post, embracing two more significant ideas as followers consider followership and as we reflect on our leaders’ leadership. Continue reading “A Followership View of Servant Leadership: Ch 1-C”

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?”