Chapter 9. Courageous Followers, Servant-Leaders, and Organizational Transformations

Linda Hopper

It was late in the fourth day of the supervisory training program for transit managers. The group had been very good—collaborative, cooperative, and interested. My colleague and I were pleased that the ideas had captured the imagination of the participants. We strongly believed in the program we had designed, and presented it with conviction. As we exhorted people to go back to the job and apply what they had learned, several people nodded and made notes. But one participant, a newly promoted facilities supervisor, said, "Okay. You want me to have faith that I can make all these changes. And I want to see things get better. But are you going to be there when they squash me like a bug for doing something different?"

This new supervisor wanted assurance that if she made a commitment I would be there to scrape her wounded ego off management's windshield. It was one of those Great Moments in Training, and I am grateful to her for putting me on the spot. Today her question might be phrased, "Will you walk with me on this journey?" I believe the question is relevant in today's workplace and that the answer greatly influences how successfully we do business.

Managers and supervisors often complain that not enough people care about doing a good job, that there is little accountability, and that efforts to define problems often result in finger pointing. Employees also gripe about management, ...

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