the action of leading a group of people or an organization.
What is our culture’s obsession with leadership? You drive by billboards and hear about seminars and books are sold– all about leadership. The push for selling leadership is ubiquitous. You hear about it in church, at work, in the home, and at school.
Does anybody talk about followership?
More importantly, can we understand what it means to be a leader, without understanding what it means to be a follower? Have we taken any time at all to understand what it means to be led?
Oh sure, sometimes, in Christian circles, we talk about servanthood. And that’s more than close enough to what I’m talking about. However, I feel like half the time, we end up talking about “servant leaders”. Because we can’t stop trying to push “leadership”.
Please don’t get me wrong– we need strong teachings on leadership. However, I am increasingly noticing a dearth of teaching and interest in being a follower and a servant. And I think it’s having a deleterious effect on our quality of leadership. I had a boss once who was great in one specific area. But he wasn’t good at managing his people– or at least, not me. His competency in his specialty did not translate to management capabilities.
Here’s my hypotheses:
- There are three categories of workers: leader, follower, and independent.
- Everybody, in their job, probably exhibits at least a little bit of each.
- Your understanding of leadership cannot be kept abstract from an equal understanding of followership. In other words, you cannot ignore followership, believing that it will teach you nothing about leadership.
- You cannot understand leadership for all areas and competencies.
- Good leadership may not look like what you expect.
- Leadership is not being a good independent worker. Taking charge of your own stuff does not make you a good leader.
- Being a leader is rarely optimal.