I will be presenting “Following Like a Leader” at the first annual Global Followership Conference
The title of this workshop may seem like an oxymoron, but I assure you that the words “leader” and “follower” are not contradictory or mutually exclusive. Although the leader/follower dynamic is naturally symbiotic, where one cannot exist without the other, identifying as either a leader or a follower can be highly problematic in positive leadership practices. The core of this concept is true (you cannot lead without a follower), but what most people don’t realize is that you can be a leader and a follower at the same time, and the ways that you follow define you as a leader.
In what ways can you follow like a leader? We will begin answering this question by examining famous followers from theatrical history and asking ourselves “What motivates these people to follow?” Why does President Skroob follow Dark Helmet in the 1987 film Space Balls? What motivates Neo’s followers to support him in the 1999 film The Matrix? How about Watson in any of the adaptations of Sherlock Holmes? Through small group discussions, we will explore these famous followers, as well as followers of your interest, and begin to inquire why they follow and if one motivator is better than another.
We will continue to inspect motivations for followership through our own adaptation and presentation of a play titled The Pizza Shop—the story of a corner pizza shop and its difficulty in maintaining effective managers and supportive employees. Through small group skits, we will define five main motivators behind followership and connect them to our famous followers from the previous activity. We will organize the five main followership motivators into a hierarchy from least sustainable to most sustainable and investigate whether or not our famous side-kicks followed for the right reasons.
Next, we will focus on you. Who are the leaders in your life and why do you follow them? Spoiler alert: in most of the corporate world, one of our top motivations for following is financial security—this is the reality of the world. But can we also make it about buying into the vision of your organization? Do you have a responsibility as a follower to ensure that you are following for the right reasons? At the end of this workshop, you will understand why the answer to both of these questions you is yes, and how you can become a genuinely enthusiastic follower.
You will leave this workshop knowing your role as both a follower and a leader within your organization. You will know the value of following like a leader and understand how you can influence those around you to follow in a sustainable and active manor. You will be able to define five different reasons why people follow and categorize them from least sustainable to most sustainable, and you will be able to recognize your influence on a leader’s ability to lead. You will know how to take control of your followership motivators, and how to direct yourself to buy into the vision of your organization. At the end of this workshop, you will be in more control of your happiness as a follower.