Empowered Followership Workshop Series

A 3-part training to strengthen work relationships

Follower is not a term of weakness but the condition that permits leadership to exist and gives it strength.
— Ira Chaleff

We all understand the importance of great leadership in our companies and organizations, but what about its opposite, great followership? The concept of following is usually dismissed as passive or subordinate, but what if that wasn’t necessarily the case? Instead, following can be a clear way to articulate the “yin” or receptive qualities to leading’s “yang” or directive qualities. The following activities of listening, responding, and simply getting your work done can stand in powerful contrast to leading activities such as coordinating, delegating, and developing a clear vision. Ideally, the two make one another’s work stronger and better, like well-matched dance partners.

The world economy is changing rapidly under the influences of globalization, automation, and climate change. To keep businesses nimble and resilient, employees increasingly interact with one another across departments and job descriptions. Human skills are more and more essential. When we include a sense of empowered, supportive followership in the equation of professional relationships, we get less command-obey and more creative dialogue. Less avoidance and more authenticity. We still need vertical structures to provide accountability, but we can operate more dynamically within those structures to improve collaboration and work flow.

Inspired by social dance, this 3-part workshop series explores nine followership skills that improve communication, reduce conflict, and make teams and organizations more cohesive.  Each workshop blends interactive, embodied exercises with quick writing assignments and group discussion to help participants identify where following skills can help them the most in their own businesses. Participants will improve communication skills, reduce conflict with co-workers, and lower their own stress and negativity. These workshops also help participants build productive relationships with supervisors and find more enjoyment in their work. Critically, they reveal how to influence projects while continuing to support those in positions of authority.

Empowered Followership Skills

workshop i: Connection: Our work becomes meaningful to us when we have the sense of mutual investment in a shared purpose.

1. Attention: listening, acceptance, positivity

2. Engagement: when and how to question, suggest, and inform

3. Openness: ability to receive feedback and learn through disagreement

workshop II: Collaboration: We need one another in order to do our best. How can we work with others most effectively?

4. Delivery: producing quality work on time

5. Flexibility: readily adapting to change

6. Patience: calm under stressful conditions

7. Boundary: setting healthy boundaries

workshop III: Creativity: Taking ownership of our work requires a personal commitment, and looks different for everyone.

8. Bravery: self-educating to solve problems, offering solutions

9. Style: experimenting, thinking critically, personalizing your work