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More on the Steward Follower By Dr. Kip Warton


The Steward Follower Owns the Vision

Let me introduce you to the idea of being a ‘steward follower.’  A steward follower is an individual who understands and commits to the owner’s vision, mission, and objectives (MOVs).  What is God’s vision for your work?  Does His mission move you to go to work each day?  Perhaps these are questions you may not have unpacked.

I enjoy going to work.  Getting up, getting ready, and getting out the door is a joy and an opportunity to grow, make mistakes, and learn.  Can you say that about your job?

The reason I love my work is that my CEO champions this steward leader/follower model for the company.  This means the company’s vision matches my personal goals.

Here’s what is so encouraging.

When you, your boss, and fellow followers are committed to being faithful stewards of your work, the ‘steward leader-follower’ team can be used by God to achieve amazing results. “I’m a believer” in the power of steward leaders and followers working with one mind to meet the vision, mission, and objectives of the Owner!

What exactly does a steward follower do when working for someone who endorses the ideas of steward leadership and followership?

Having a solid understanding of the God inspired company MOVs and a commitment to the same; the steward leader directs and manages resources to their best good.  Steward followers recognize the MOVs within the leader’s directions, add their own God inspired focus, and implement the directives.  The impact to the organization is seen in meeting the owner’s MOVs while stewarding resources and in particular people who now love going to work.  Organizational change becomes less frightening.  Productivity rises.  Stakeholders who include all touched by the organization’s processes and products are inspired by the outcomes.  They include the owner, leadership, followers, stockholders, and customers to name a few.

Commitment to the MOVs involves the steward follower accepting a God inspired obligation to be accountable, in a similar way to the leader, for those resources and their best use.  This awareness of the vision and mission helps the steward follower understand that she is trusted with the owners resources for her to direct and manage within her scope of authority.  She does this working alongside fellow steward followers reaping the rewards of many people working toward the same goals.

There are several questions that a steward follower must ask himself before staying on the job.  I have reflected on three of these questions but there are others.

(1) How do you describe practically owning the MOVs for your current work situation?

Without a prayerfully considered way to pursue the MOVs, all you are doing is ‘filling the squares’ and collecting a paycheck.  Talk to your boss and colleagues to get their ideas about more effectively achieving the goals within the vision and mission.

(2) Are the MOVs matched with your faith based beliefs?

Your character should be Biblically based and define who you are.  Dismissing or sidelining God’s standards for the sake of “pleasing” the boss is wrong.  Be prepared to challenge the owner and the CEO about ethical problems with the MOVs or be prepared to leave the job.

(3) Do you have the courage and character necessary to call out the boss, your direct supervisor, or your peers for their failure to meet stewarding objectives?

Assuming your understanding of the MOVs is sound, prayerfully crossing leaders and followers puts you at risk of being undercut by the same people even if your intentions are pure.  Even so, if they are not being faithful to the vision but falling short for the sake of convenience or outright fraud, then your duty is to call them to account.  Are you ready to lose your job over this?

The questions above provide “food for thought” for each steward follower to evaluate for themselves.  Consider prayerfully your own work situation and how these questions might impact your job.  Honest discussion with a mentor or peer can help shine some light on ideas or answers to these questions and others.

The steward follower must work toward those objectives defined by the Owner, teaming with the steward leader to produce the greatest good for the organization.  In order to do this well, you must reflect on what the personal cost will be and whether personal holiness is even possible.  Outcomes must be lined up with the MOVs thus minimizing stakeholder disappointment.  The best way to do this is for the steward follower to own the MOVs.

Frankly, the steward follower is one of the key members of the organization; recognizing and taking ownership is a cornerstone of that membership. The steward follower recognizes the higher commitment of owning the mission, vision, and objectives while growing fellow followers and leaders into stewards with the same focus. This calls on the steward follower to mentor, coach, encourage, and challenge other leaders and followers so they can grow through adopting steward leader-follower ideals.

I am convinced of the powerful potential of the steward follower working shoulder to shoulder with steward leaders and other steward follower’s.  Stewards working in harmony with each other, means each team member are playing a different tune yet everyone’s work is mutually supportive and pointed towards the owner’s MOVs.  The steward follower moves forward owning the ideals captured within the MOVs achieving the best good for the organization and its people.  This is why I enjoy going to work.

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Dr. Kip Warton has led the development and operation of unmanned aircraft systems at the US Air Force Academy. With over 35 years of experience, Kip has lead, managed, and worked alongside people from small groups to large, multi-level organizations with broad managerial experience including technologically advanced systems.

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