“I trust you.”

I’ve served in a new leadership role for almost a year now, and I can still recall one of the earliest bits of affirmation that I received.

During a call with one of my subordinates which touched on a somewhat sensitive issue, uncertain what kind of response I would receive, I was given these words from the other end of the telephone: “I trust you.” Continue reading ““I trust you.””

“We follow to find out.”

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 Leader is Best…?

What are the best attributes of a leader?

There is a famous quote on leadership from Lao Tzu that many are familiar with:

A leader is best when people barely know he exists; when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.

I understand the intent of the observation: there is some virtue to be found in a leader that is able to facilitate the contribution of his followers to such an extent that he falls into the background amidst their accomplishments.

But I think there are some notions that are worthy of deeper reconsideration in Lao Tzu’s words. Continue reading “A Leader is Best…?”

Humility or Unity: Which Comes First?

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?”

In the Words of Ira Chaleff…

Allen – Reading an excerpt from your forthcoming book on followership I am impressed with the elevating language you use to imbue this form of relationship with service, grace and individuality. I look forward to more.

There have been a number of books that have helped me along in my journey of followership, much as I hope my book will in turn be helpful to others. Ira Chaleff is the author of The Courageous Follower, a book I reference frequently and build from as I present my own ideas in Embracing Followership. Ira recently honored me by sharing the above words. Continue reading “In the Words of Ira Chaleff…”

Excerpt: Followership is Relationship

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”