Leader: the ideal human being?

During a recent conference workshop, I asked the attendees to make a list of the qualities, characteristics, and responsibilities of a leader/leadership.

Here’s a sampling of what they came up with: Continue reading “Leader: the ideal human being?”

Responding to a Leadership Wishlist

As a follower, what do you desire from your leader? What characteristics would be beneficial to you in your pursuit of following with excellence?

In 1994, Warren Bennis suggested that followers need three basic qualities from their leaders: “they want direction; they want trust; and they want hope.” Continue reading “Responding to a Leadership Wishlist”

Followership Encouragement

Honk! Honk! Honk!

I learned recently from a friend that geese in flight–in their famous “flying V” formation–honk almost continuously for a very definite purpose: encouragement & cooperation. Continue reading “Followership Encouragement”

Lead or Follow: which is easier?

I’ve spent most of my career up to this point in strictly a followership role, without any formal position of leadership. In that time, I don’t think I ever found myself saying of my leaders, “You guys don’t know how good you’ve got it; your role is so easy compared to mine.”

Having more recently stepped into a leadership role, I can now verify the degree of challenge and burden which I expect many leaders face.

But does that mean that leadership is harder than followership? Continue reading “Lead or Follow: which is easier?”

Interview: Behind the Scenes with Senior Editor Rebecca Brant

One clear message in the book Embracing Followership: How to Thrive in a Leader-Centric Culture is the importance of relationship. All group endeavors require, in order to be successful, a healthy dynamic between leaders and followers as well as among fellow followers.

The production of any quality book requires a variety of input, perspectives, and expertise. One of the primary voices involved in working with me to produce Embracing Followership was my senior editor at Kirkdale Press, Rebecca Brant.

Rebecca took some time to reflect on her experience of working with me and the personal impact of the ideas contained within the book. Continue reading “Interview: Behind the Scenes with Senior Editor Rebecca Brant”

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…?”

Excerpt: Excellence in Followership

From “Chapter 5: Obligations of Followership” (p.54) in Embracing Followership: How to Thrive in a Leader-Centric Culture, which was released on Feb 24th by Kirkdale Press.

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Excerpt: ‘In Group’ Followership

Having spent a little time in Japan, one concept that I’ve learned about is the sense of there being an ‘in group’ and an ‘out group’. There are people with whom you are connected–by commonality, experience, relationship–and there is everybody else.

Without a strong notion of association as a member of a particular ‘in group’, we are almost certainly condemned to struggle in our followership. If we view ourselves as separate, outside, or different from the group, we will be hard-pressed to fully participate and relate–and thus unleash our very best contributions.

I share this thought in Chapter 20 (titled “Association”) of Embracing Followership: Continue reading “Excerpt: ‘In Group’ Followership”

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?”

Excerpt: Participate!

This is the grand debut! This blog post contains the first ever release of an excerpt from my forthcoming book, Embracing Followership!

Much of my experience of growing in followership has been two-fold: adopting a right perspective–about myself, my circumstances, my leader, and my peers–and then also adopting right behaviors–in the way I communicate, the activities I engage in, and the habits I form.

I blogged recently about the core truth that we all have something to contribute (see A Necessary Contribution). The truth that we each have something unique and valuable to bring to an organization is one such right perspective that we will each benefit from adopting. But, there is also a consequent action that should accompany this right thinking. Continue reading “Excerpt: Participate!”