Although this is now the 4th book by Patrick Lencioni that I've read, I wouldn't necessarily label myself as a fan. His typical presentation format oAlthough this is now the 4th book by Patrick Lencioni that I've read, I wouldn't necessarily label myself as a fan. His typical presentation format of beginning with a fable (in this case, 213 pages worth) that illustrates his principles and then following that with a relatively brief portion (40 pages) explicitly describing his model still makes me question whether that's the most effective use of time and space.
That being said, I found the fable in this book the best of any of his that I've so far encountered--the most believable, least contrived, and also with more explicitly Christian references. As I understand it, Lencioni is a believer, but the most direct references to faith are usually reserved for the concluding comments in his Acknowledgements.
One of the final sections of this book is entitled "The Ministry of Management", where Lencioni makes some specific references to notions of serving others and embracing the gifts of God; this makes for a helpful and concrete reminder of the underpinnings of faith which exist at the foundation of a message which can easily be ingested by a secular audience.
Perhaps because of my personal season of life, I found the model and content presented in this work to be the best of his attempts to provide language, categories, and insight in navigating organizational dynamics. This book was originally published with the title "The Three Signs of a Miserable Job" which I find even more appropriate than its revised title; this is a book aimed at managers, so not so much about employees getting engaged in an endeavor, but rather the manager's critical role in engaging with employees.
I'll let you discover Lencioni's "Three Signs" for yourself, but I found them to be accurate descriptors of where some of my current disenchantment with my present ministry role stem from, while simultaneously challenging me as I oversee and support others in their ministries.
I could see this book being useful at various levels of church and parachurch ministry. Elder boards and senior pastors will be challenged in how they relate to the individuals that they supervise and work most closely with. A small groups pastor would be encouraged to engage with intentionality in connecting with the various home group leaders that form the crux of such a ministry, helping to ensure that their service is felt to be meaningful and effective. Various other assistants, team leaders, committee chairpersons, and department heads would be blessed if their supervisors dedicated energy to ensuring that the three signs of job/ministry misery become transformed into three opportunities for encouragement.
People are the fundamental resource of the Kingdom of God and the Body of Christ, and all who are given a stewardship of supervision would be aided in their role by considering the framework shared in this relatively short, accessible, insightful work.
Gulbranson writes a very approachable work on the topic of being a professional Follower; I appreciate her conversational tone and down-to-earth perspGulbranson writes a very approachable work on the topic of being a professional Follower; I appreciate her conversational tone and down-to-earth perspective.
I was a little surprised that the "110 Tips" mentioned in the subtitle don't start appearing until 100 pages into the book. However, from Chapter 5 onward, they are presented clearly as summary points for each chapter. To be honest, once I got to this point in the book, I found myself largely skipping to the end of each chapter just to read the summary points, only barely skimming the chapter contents themselves.
The reason for my skimming is because I found myself struggling with the author's various analogies and anecdotes. The over-riding (pun intended) theme of considering oneself as a horse or a jockey--which to me is a bit of a stretch--ends up being supplemented by other analogies along the way, including "jelly people", "drama queens", and "rabbits". This web of images, which continue to be returned to, makes a somewhat complex paradigm containing a variety of illustrations that are hard to keep track of. ("What's a jelly person again?")
The book also makes use of one extended case study, supplemented by a number of other lengthy case studies, and then added to with the author's personal life lessons. For many of these, I found the supposed lesson learned to not follow clearly from what was presented (perhaps you had to be there?), such that I ended up skipping them entirely and just focused on the summary content (tips), going back and reading the presentation in the chapter only if I was interested.
Having read and published on the topic of followership myself, I didn't find a lot that was new in Gulbranson's presentation. However, it's a readable summary of various aspects of following well that would be of value to someone considering this topic for the first time. Her section on when to challenge includes many good lessons on communication, and while some of her tips seem fairly nuanced, there is much fundamental wisdom shared in being a good employee and a successful follower.
If you've not yet explored much of the idea of followership, and are looking for a non-technical guide in how you can better contribute in your workplace, this book will likely help you along....more
I'll highlight the weakest point of this book first: the 'jazz' image presented in the title isn't developed as an overarching theme or image of leadeI'll highlight the weakest point of this book first: the 'jazz' image presented in the title isn't developed as an overarching theme or image of leadership. DePree occasionally references some aspect of jazz music and musicians, but overall, it's hardly a unifying principle for the book's content.
But that's really the only negative I found.
As an author on the topic of followership, I truly appreciate the excellent way that DePree acknowledges and values the role of follower and also the emphasizes the importance of the leader-follower relationship.
The chapters are short and readable. He often includes lists of various suggestions or characteristics; some of these are developed well, and others less-so, but they serve to give you an idea of his perspective and stimulate further thinking.
His experience at Herman Miller (furniture manufacturer) was an excellent forum for him to learn and practice leadership, I appreciated the regularly glimpses into how his principles were displayed in their organizational culture and operation. DePree comes across, not as an ivory tower know-it-all, but as a humble practitioner who sought to create the best environment he could for his employees and customers.
I easily recommend this book to leaders and followers alike....more
I picked up this book as part of my continuing exploration of followership. While Hytner's depiction of the second-chair leader-counselor ("consiglierI picked up this book as part of my continuing exploration of followership. While Hytner's depiction of the second-chair leader-counselor ("consiglieri") raises some helpful points of awareness in boss-subordinate relations, I found his scheme of consiglieri archetypes to be too convoluted to be useful: four main categories, with a variety of subcategories for each, and no clear connection between them in order to help establish this paradigm as a clear framework for personal awareness within my own mind.
His encouragement of leader-follower relationship evaluation and communication is valuable, and his long list of sample questions may appeal to those who are looking for a stepping stone in how to engage with their leader (or follower) in this manner.
Overall, this book is not a bad read, but not terribly insightful either. Most of the author's case studies and examples are British sports figures and politicians, and his literary citations require a pretty astounding breadth of familiarity (beef up on your Shakespeare!) in order to fully appreciate his points. This book can be safely skimmed without risk of missing crucial points or wisdom....more
The concept of stewardship--by which I mean one's responsible use of talents, abilities, opportunities, relationships, and obligations--is one that isThe concept of stewardship--by which I mean one's responsible use of talents, abilities, opportunities, relationships, and obligations--is one that is very significant to me. I was excited to find a book that I thought was devoted to this topic, taking the very word stewardship as its title. Unfortunately, what I found was the presentation of a very different concept that regularly seemed to redefine previously familiar terms.
While the author may have noble intentions of truly overhauling the governance and conduct of business, I couldn't help but feel that his idealism was a bit more fantasy than illuminating. Certainly, there are some good principles that occasionally surface in this book, but I couldn't force myself to do anything more than skim most of its content. My cherished notion of stewardship seemed reduced to just the latest approach to create an "everybody wins" office environment.
The sections that I did read in detail were so regularly beset with typos (usually word omissions) that any respect that I was developing for the author was quickly erased.
It is not surprising to me that this book, published in 1993, has long ago been forgotten....more
This volume is surprisingly accessible, introducing core concepts related to how to perform and adapt within any variety of cross-cultural situations.This volume is surprisingly accessible, introducing core concepts related to how to perform and adapt within any variety of cross-cultural situations. I appreciate that the book does not get bogged down in organizational research and instead provides anecdotal vignettes (rather than extended case studies) to depict the kinds of issues that are relevant to cooperating with and within other cultures.
This book lays a foundation for further growth; it doesn't provide lists of cultural differences nor does it provide a lot of practical skills. Rather, it presents a framework for personal growth and adaptation, giving encouragement and basic direction while justifying the value of knowledge, mindfulness, and skill/behavior that contribute to successful interaction outside of one's own national culture.
It's a surprisingly quick read that will provide a valuable launching point for team or workplace discussion and exploration of the impact of operating within a multicultural environment. Recommended....more
This book is a thorough and useful exploration of the ramifications of culture on national and organizational differences.
In comparison to Hostede's This book is a thorough and useful exploration of the ramifications of culture on national and organizational differences.
In comparison to Hostede's book "Culture's Consequences", this work is intended to be more accessible and less of a professional research text. While I'm sure the author attained this aim, I still find "Cultures and Organizations" to be a very dense read: many of the best conclusions are to be found buried between tables and outlines of research surveys. Even as a mathematician with a strong background in statistics, wading through this material was arduous, and I found myself frequently skimming in order to locate some of the many helpful observations and conclusions that Hofstede does offer. My concern is that I undoubtedly missed some of his gems as a result of my need to hop and skip through some paragraphs and passages.
I read this book in order to stimulate my thinking on cross-cultural issues of followership (the complementary idea to leadership). It has filled that purpose, but I will have to do much to further distill and simplify Hofstede's presentation for my own readers....more
I agree with Lencioni's own appraisal of the model presented here: it's actually relatively simple. It is the ongoing work of investing together as a I agree with Lencioni's own appraisal of the model presented here: it's actually relatively simple. It is the ongoing work of investing together as a team that is hard, the navigating of relationships that is complex.
While the 180+ page narrative portion of this book is a quick, fun read, I'm not sure that it provides the best forum for digesting the book's message. Although most readers like to engage with fictional characters and may manage to remember snippets of the story, I wonder if there is enough opportunity to engage and apply the material presented. Because the narrative makes for such a quick read, it can preclude slow, contemplative wrestling with the ideas in Lencioni's model. The skeptical part of me wonders if the narrative was necessary in order to supplement the 40 pages discussing the model and bring it from the place of pamphlet to full-length book.
Presentation aside, the model has some helpful facets. I would like to see more of its ideas directed at team members, however. The narrative is presented very much through the leader's eyes, and the exploration of each facet in the second part of the book emphasizes the role of the leader. The responsibility and opportunity for each team member to contribute to overcoming the five dysfunctions is a prime topic for exploration within the field of followership....more
The three-dimensional scheme of types built upon distance, deference, and divergence is an informative way to explore one's subordinate styles. The caThe three-dimensional scheme of types built upon distance, deference, and divergence is an informative way to explore one's subordinate styles. The categories of styles (accommodating, autonomous, adversarial) built upon gradations within these dimensions seem to be true-to-life representations of observable responses to leadership.
In my exploration of followership, this book has provided a helpful paradigm for considering the value of follower-leader relationship and interaction....more
A straightforward book on Christian living, emphasizing the idea of quiet faithfulness--rather than headlining in every facet of life.
I most appreciatA straightforward book on Christian living, emphasizing the idea of quiet faithfulness--rather than headlining in every facet of life.
I most appreciated the author's comments about the idea of using subtitles for ourselves, the way we qualify our identity, attaching significance to who we are by introducing ourselves with a position or achievement alongside of our name (e.g. "I'm so-and-so, CEO of...").
I read this book because I have an ongoing interest in the topic of followership (the complementary idea to leadership). Often, the role of a follower is one which does not garner much acclaim or prestige. While the book is titled "Embracing Obscurity," I didn't really find such a strong emphasis on the realities of often serving in the background. I was hoping for a stronger push to encourage us to identify with the unnamed masses and individuals found throughout the Bible, and was left a bit disappointed.
An easy read, with a worthwhile message, but hardly revolutionary....more
This book is primarily an exposition of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount (Gospel of Matthew, Chapters 5-7), more so than a book on leadership. The author doThis book is primarily an exposition of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount (Gospel of Matthew, Chapters 5-7), more so than a book on leadership. The author does a great job of presenting the unity of message in this portion of the Bible, and surfaces qualities that should be true of all Christians. The application to leadership seems a little shallow, perhaps more of a marketing technique than anything else. The leadership scope, such as it is, is very much aimed at church/congregation/pastoral leadership, and little effort is made to apply the uncovered truths beyond this arena.
For those looking to dive into the Sermon on the Mount, this book has one of the best explorations of the themes in this passage. But for those interested in leadership or followership studies, this book offers little that will seem new or especially relevant....more
This short book provides a simple overview of some chief characteristics of followership, teams, and the dynamics of relationships with (and as) a leaThis short book provides a simple overview of some chief characteristics of followership, teams, and the dynamics of relationships with (and as) a leader. Although most qualities are only touched upon in brief, for those who have not yet ventured very far in a journey of learning to follow with excellence, it offers a chance to quickly become exposed to many of the relevant issues. An approachable primer, perhaps suited for group discussion, but those who are deeply interested and widely read in the topic of followership are unlikely to find much that is new nor a presentation that is especially original or impactful....more
Discovering Followership offers a refreshing exploration of the role that most of us fill: following others. It offers many biblical examples, and sevDiscovering Followership offers a refreshing exploration of the role that most of us fill: following others. It offers many biblical examples, and several historical ones, to elevate the idea of followership as an important aspect of our life, work, and involvements with others.
I appreciate that this book is primarily addressed to followers--so many books on this topic are written as manuals for leaders on how to develop good followers. That being said, there is still a significant emphasis on leadership as an ultimate goal to be attained, the greater reward for passing the test of followership.
There aren't a lot of books out there on the topic of followership, and I've read nearly all of them. If you're looking for a Christian perspective that is addressed to followers rather than leaders, then Discovering Followership is certainly one of the most helpful resources you'll find. ...more
I appreciate Galvin's two-pronged approach to examining followership: the use of a fictional narrative in the first part of a book, followed by a moreI appreciate Galvin's two-pronged approach to examining followership: the use of a fictional narrative in the first part of a book, followed by a more systematic, didactic approach in the second part. The narrative, although it felt a bit too contrived at times, moved quickly and provided an engaging depiction of the journey of learning to follow well.
There are many followership style schemes out there in the literature, but I appreciate Galvin's threefold distinction in types, or perhaps "spheres", of followership--following God, following inherited authority, and following in other circumstances. Rather than fixating on individual follower styles, this paradigm helps us to consider what (in)appropriate followership looks like in various facets of life, acknowledging that some differences in our response are warranted as we follow within the different spheres.
Galvin's five levels of followership was not particularly helpful, other than generally surfacing some traits that all who are intent on following well should aim for.
Overall, a useful book for a specifically Christian audience. Approachable, sometimes exhausting in its Scripture references, but providing another point of encounter for all of us to engage with the notion of followership....more
I am thankful for any attempt to bring the topic of followership to the front of our minds and consideration. Armstrong offers Christians an opportuniI am thankful for any attempt to bring the topic of followership to the front of our minds and consideration. Armstrong offers Christians an opportunity to consider that intentionality in living and serving is not limited to only leadership functions and roles. He puts forth some good Bible passages to explore, and his analysis of Jonathan and his armor bearer (Chapter 7) is one of the highlights of this book.
Armstrong clearly aims this book at leaders (referencing followership as a "leadership principle" in the book's subtitle), oftentimes aiming his comments directly at situations that seem mostly relevant only to those who are in authoritative positions; this makes several parts of the book less helpful to those of us who are simply followers. As he puts forth his "leader-servant" idea (is this different from the popular notion of "servant leadership"?), he clearly assumes an aim toward everyone becoming a leader.
Unfortunately, the helpful content in this book is at times drowned out by the quality of the writing, the unclear chapter topics, and the all-too-frequent divergences onto tangents and soapboxes (the eating of pork & the leader's hygiene, to name but two). However, as there is currently little written on the topic of followership for Christian audiences (nor much written even in the non-Christian realm), this book is at least one opportunity to consider this crucial aspect of what it means to live and serve others in a godly way. ...more
I read this book because I have a significant interest in the topic of followership (in contrast to leadership). In that regard, I found Ricketson's bI read this book because I have a significant interest in the topic of followership (in contrast to leadership). In that regard, I found Ricketson's book to be a refreshingly positive book as it honors the role of following and seeks to correct traditional biases.
While the layout, editing, diagrams, and Follower First Profile all come across as a bit amateurish, this book is a helpful place to begin one's journey in pursuing excellence as a follower. It provides exposure, however brief, to a broad range of facets that are worth considering, including character, power, and various models of leadership. I'm not sure that he ever succinctly presents his "Follower First philosophy" in a clear manner, and even though he has a chapter on implementation, I'm still left wondering if it's possible to create this kind of culture within modern churches and organizations. Nevertheless, there is something helpful in his raising our awareness to consider these issues.
Since there's not a lot written on the topic of followership, and even less from a Christian perspective, I recommend this book as a starting place, and encourage additional reading to then further one's growth and reflections. You can find other items on my Amazon.com Listmania! for "Followership Resources." ...more
In my deep interest on the topic of followership, I finally was able to read Ira Chaleff's "The Courageous Follower." I very much appreciated the respIn my deep interest on the topic of followership, I finally was able to read Ira Chaleff's "The Courageous Follower." I very much appreciated the respect and value that he ascribes to the follower role. His emphasis on uniting both leader and follower roles around a common purpose is refreshing and challenging; how much of my own involvement is guided by my adherence to our organization's purpose?
Although initially excited at the content in the first few chapters, I found that my interest and enthusiasm waned towards the latter half of the book. The pattern of offering lists of recommended questions or wordings to use in dialogue as part of nearly every subsection became a bit ponderous and overwhelming. I feel like I would need to carry a copy of this book and a flowchart in order to make appropriate use of his recommendations for interaction in a given situation. A few especially poignant conversation points for each chapter or theme would have had more impact in shaping my perspective and responses.
Despite so intensely emphasizing the significant factor of human interaction--the leader-follower dynamic founded upon truth, honesty, vulnerability, confrontation, morality and the like--I came away feeling this it was all a bit depersonalized. Could I just program a robot to utter Chaleff's recommended statements and questions? There is an extreme paucity of real-life/realistic or historical examples or case studies, which makes the content feel a bit too theoretical and idealized.
I'm not convinced that, in the development of followership as a topic for conversation and for growth, that labels and categories are what's needed. Chaleff offers us "courageous followership," repeatedly stating that, "Courageous followers [do this]..." almost as if it's a badge to wear or a certificate to qualify for. Is courage actually at the center of what we need in order to follow well? At the core, we need to do well in our role...regardless of our style or personality. In addition to "courageous follower," Chaleff also offers us Partner, Implementer, and others...more labels and categories. Maybe these are helpful, concrete, even motivational for some, but I think that a simple exploration of helpful perspective and actions would pay us richer dividends than determining whether I am a Bystander (Kellerman), Implementer (Chaleff), Star (Kelley), Follower First (Ricketson), or First Follower (Sweet).
I think we have grown beyond the need to shape corporate culture and business perspectives. What we need in the realm of followership is addressing real individuals where they're at by providing encouragement and guidance (rather than paradigms) to serve well and "grow forward" in their role as follower.
However, taking "The Courageous Follower" for what it is, it is a worthwhile read...a gem of reasonable quality in a field that as yet feels sometimes barren. Recommended, but wondering if we can push beyond the idea of courage, beyond the labels, and really encourage one another to follow well?...more
An approachable work on the topic of followership, free from in-depth corporate research or belabored case-studies and simply based on Collins' own liAn approachable work on the topic of followership, free from in-depth corporate research or belabored case-studies and simply based on Collins' own life experience.
While many of his principles are common to other books on this subject, I especially appreciated his encouragement to choose our boss, to decide whom we will work with, and to do so with great intentionality.
This book is a quick read and would make for a nice first exposure to anyone interested in the topic of followership. Recommended....more
Kellerman's work is a surprisingly readable, well-researched effort to correct the egregious oversight, devaluation, and misunderstanding of the role Kellerman's work is a surprisingly readable, well-researched effort to correct the egregious oversight, devaluation, and misunderstanding of the role of followership. She outlines societal and philosophical factors that indicate why followership is important now in a way that it has not always been.
The strength of this book lies in Chapters 1-4, & 10 (also Ch 9); the categories of follower types that she develops in Chapters 5-8 are only marginally useful, despite the foundation of interesting case studies. I'm not convinced that the distinctions between the types (Bystanders, Participants, Activists, Diehards) are significant enough to be helpful, and ultimately the types do not present a paradigm that's really informative or instructive for living (and developing) as a follower.
Kellerman's work is realistic in interacting with the truth and realities of leadership, followership, and hierachies (i.e. it doesn't attempt to erase either the role of leader or of follower), and this book is highly effective for promoting awareness about this oft-overlooked topic. However, while it reports examples of "How Followers Are Creating Change and Changing Leaders" (the book's subtitle), it falls short of serving to launch followers forward in practically bettering themselves and contributing more effectively to the leader-follower dialectic.
The use of extended case-studies is a common approach in leadership literature, but in my opinion, not the most effective. While Useem has selected a The use of extended case-studies is a common approach in leadership literature, but in my opinion, not the most effective. While Useem has selected a number of engaging stories, and I appreciate his style of inserting brief "lessons" into the midst of the narrative (rather than saving all the principles for the end of the story), unfortunately, I found most of his observations and insights to be rather trite and not necessarily highly transferable to those of us who are not negotiating foreign policy, commanding armies, or scaling Mt Everest.
My primary interest is in the area of followership, and I was hoping that "Leading Up" would provide an important perspective in how subordinates can make significant and necessary contributions to their superiors. Many of the stories do illustrate such contributions, but this book is hardly a manual consisting of tangible how-to's or recommended best practices. It is an opportunity to be inspired, perhaps, but little more.
If you are interested in some of the topics covered by his selected case studies--ranging from the Civil War to encounters with God--then these anecdotes may be enjoyable. But keep your expectations low if you're looking for fresh, deep insight into this significant aspect of the leadership-followership dynamic. ...more
I read this book because I am very interested in the topic of followership, which Robert Kelley has also written on. The chapters dedicated to followeI read this book because I am very interested in the topic of followership, which Robert Kelley has also written on. The chapters dedicated to followership, small "L" leadership, and teamwork were very significant in encouraging the skills of working for and with others.
While there is a very clear secular, business aim at "brainpowered workers," with a view toward enhancing one's career, I appreciated that the path of career furtherance outlined by Kelley takes people to a place of benefiting others by our efforts and contributions, including setting aside oneself and foregoing praise, and instead contributing to the bottom line (critical path) of the larger organization as an unselfish team player. I believe such a model can be very useful to those like myself who are not involved in such corporate environments, but rather work in non-profits or education.
Kelley includes both practical skills (e.g. giving presentations) along with social & relational skills (e.g. using one's perspective and initiative), making for a well-rounded approach to being an effective contributor to the group, to others, and in benefit of one's own career opportunities.