A couple of years ago I reviewed a book on Followership, called Embracing Followership: How to Thrive in a Leader-Centric Culture (Kirkdale, 2016) by Allen Hamlin. There are lots of books on leadership, but few that describe what it means to follow (though some business team resources get at some of this). Leaders cast vision and give direction but good followership is essential if an organization is going to enact the vision and get the job done. Followers follow through, providing a supportive network, help provide guidance and contribute to the leader’s development. Organizations cannot succeed without good followership. Hamlin discusses how to develop our followership, our relationship with other followers and leaders and a leaders relationship to followers.
Hamlin’s book is a worthwhile read. He has just released an accompanying Discussion Guide for Teams and Small Groups. The book is designed to help facilitate discussion of the principles that Hamlin laid out in Embracing Followership, through a series of 12 Bible Studies and 4 Biblical character studies. Each chapter consists of:
- Background from the book (plus additional thoughts from the author) on various topics related to followership.
- Opportunities for personal reflection (questions and a brief look at a relevant Bible passage.
- A group discussion on the same passage and (related passages) exploring the theme.
Hamlin follows an inductive Bible Study approach, looking at ‘observations’ in the passage, offering ‘interpretation’ and then moving on to ‘application’ (O.I.A.) For the ‘personal reflections portion of these studies’, He simply leaves Observation, Interpretation, Application as headings for us to make personal notes. The Group guide has questions designed to elicit discussion in each of the areas. I have followed a similar method in leading Bible study since my student days in InterVarsity, so I appreciate this approach.
The ‘Bible Character Studies’ profile 4 Bible people: Aaron, Esther, Joshua, Peter. Hamlin highlights their character, significant life events, and invites us to reflect on aspects of their character that exhibit good followership, as well as negative aspects of their followership. The guide includes a suggested reading guide (pairing chapters to studies), additional resources/activities for reflection on stewardship, and a bibliography for Christian followership.
The original book has tons of examples, mostly from Hamlin’s experience working in the Christian non-profit world; however, it was broadly applicable to any organization—Christian or Non-Christian. Because the discussion guide is formatted around Bible Studies, this book will appeal most readily to Christian, religious contexts, such as church small groups and leadership teams. Following God is the central message in these studies. Hamlin connects this to various vocations.
These are pretty solid studies. I happily recommend them, along with the original book. Everybody wants to be the shepherd but we are all like sheep. We can learn to follow a whole lot better. I give this four stars.
Notice of material connection: I was given an electronic copy of this study guide by the author and publisher in exchange for my honest review.