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”

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 6

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

I appreciate Greenleaf’s approach in considering the application of servant leadership within various spheres of operation–business, education, churches, etc. I find it unique that among those spheres, he considers foundations; charitable trusts rarely seem to be singled out as special entities, and yet Greenleaf sees enough importance to focus Chapter 6 on “Servant Leadership in Foundations.”

The core sentiment within this chapter hinges on the reality that foundations exist to give rather than to serve (p.217). From this stems a few thoughts that Greenleaf explores, and which I think are relevant for followers of all stripes to consider. Continue reading “A Followership View of Servant Leadership: Ch 6”

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 2-A

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

Chapter 2, “The Institution as Servant,” is another lengthy segment, so we’ll split our exploration across a couple of posts. One of the first topics mentioned in this chapter is the prominent role of trustees; however, as that’s the focus of Chapter 3, I’ll save some of those observations for later.

The first theme I want to start with from Chapter 2 is the notion of the institution. Greenleaf has a very high standard for what organizations should be about. Hear his own words: Continue reading “A Followership View of Servant Leadership: Ch 2-A”

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”

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”