Group Seminar

making space for each other

Group Seminars

making space for each other

Be Both A Great Leader and A Great Follower

We all understand the importance of great leadership in our companies and organizations, but what about its counterpart – great followership?

The concept of following is usually dismissed as passive or subordinate, but that stereotype isn’t necessarily the real truth. 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 delivering on your commitments can elevate leading activities such as coordinating, delegating, and developing a clear vision to a higher level of excellence. 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. It’s becoming more and more clear that human skills have always have been an essential part of a sustainable, successful work culture. 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 and coordination, but we can operate more dynamically within those structures to improve collaboration and work flow. Recognizing the distinct roles of leadership and followership allows a measure of healthy creative tension to exist between them. We can all lead and follow in powerful ways!

Lead & Follow Skill Sheet

This 1-page framework shows nine leader-follower skill pairs within three distinct phases of team and relationship development. Pin this sheet near your desk as a reminder to ask yourself which role you need to activate more of from day to day and from meeting to meeting. De-mystify awkward moments and relax into an authentic way of working as you move back and forth between leading and following.

Get the Skill Sheet

and start seeing work differently

Take the next powerful step

9-week Group Seminar

This program challenges the conventional notion that a supporting role is less important than a leadership role. By reclaiming your power as a follower, you commit to seeking out channels of influence both internally, through mindset and self-development, and externally, through communication and action.

You will step out of your comfort zone and discover strengths you didn’t know you had. Get ready to level up on the most important professional skill of our time: collaboration. By strengthening your following, you’ll become a more powerful leader too.

Program Description –

Inspired by principles of social dance, this coaching program explores three phases of building a great working relationship: Connection, Collaboration, and Co-Creation. Adding less-celebrated followership skills to more familiar leadership skills at each phase of the process improves communication, reduces conflict and negativity, and makes teams more productive.

Part I: Connection

Connection is a meeting of action and intention. In learning to connect, the follower perspective primarily focuses on supporting others in a variety of ways, where support is not inferior, but complementary to the  guiding and directing functions of leadership.

“This material showed me how much being present with yourself allows you to contribute to the conversation.”
Virginia Dick, Evaluation Consultant

01. Clarity & Attention

The Leader’s Role: Communicate clearly
The Follower’s Role: Grant your full attention

02. Inclusion & Engagement

The Leader’s Role: Facilitate participation
The Follower’s Role: Help develop ideas

03. Care & Openness

The Leader’s Role: Keep others safe
The Follower’s Role: Choose trust

Phase II: Collaboration

Building on the foundation of solid connection skills, you’ll shift into productive dialogue. Learn to express the strength of the following role by taking ownership of your work and establishing mutual accountability with leaders.

“My experience with the Followership curriculum was enlightening and empowering. The use of the dancing analogy as a way to understand the importance of communication and connection enabled me to visualize how I can be effective in my role.”
Kathy Mellstrom, Operations

04. Structure & Delivery

The Leader’s Role: Organize collective work
The Follower’s Role: Execute individual work

05. Expectations & Boundaries

The Leader’s Role: Articulate values
The Follower’s Role: Preserve ethics

06. Adaptability & Flexibility

The Leader’s Role: Revise plans as needed
The Follower’s Role: Adjust to change

07. Decisiveness & Presence

The Leader’s Role: Navigate toward a goal
The Follower’s Role: Stay in the moment

Phase III: Co-Creation

The co-creation phase evolves naturally out of healthy collaboration. Followership increases a team’s capacity to pursue new and ambitious goals by self-educating and offering solutions to challenges as they arise. Open up channels of greater freedom, challenge, and opportunity in the course of every day work.

“This program gave me a whole new mental framework for understanding teamwork. I keep finding new ways to understand both my professional and personal relationships in the context of this material. It was truly transformative.”
Corie Bales, Educational Designer

08. Imagination & Bravery

The Leader’s Role: Share your vision
The Follower’s Role: Take bold action

09. Insight & Style

The Leader’s Role: See potential in others
The Follower’s Role: Embrace who you are

Why Lead & Follow?

  1. Improve challenging relationships
  2. Reduce conflict, stress and tension
  3. Get what you need from others more easily
  4. Enjoy more of your work day
  5. Become a versatile and well-rounded professional

“Sharna gives individuals and teams a common language and a set of practical tools to help improve communication, resolve conflict, and address other issues that stand in the way of an optimal relationship.”

–NATASHA PORTER, CEO, Ambassador Leaders

Seminar Format

01 Strategy

One individual 30-minute strategy call where we identify your individual goals and any challenges specific to your work environment.

02 Self-Study

Read one chapter per week from the book Lead & Follow, and track your progress in a journal as you experiment with selected practices from week to week.

03 Group Learning

Nine 90-minute group sessions to discuss challenges, share discoveries, and practice new skills in creative activities and role-plays.

04 Email Access

Ask questions and get answers within 24 hours. You have email access throughout the program to guide your day-to-day process

05 Integration

One individual 30-minute integration call to solidify your new skills. Schedule this anytime within three months of completing the program.

Host a Lead & Follow seminar

This virtual gathering is the closest thing to an in-person workshop that you will find this side of a Zoom screen. There will be no lectures and only a few slides in order to provide clear instructions for learning activities. The most powerful way to learn to inhabit the character of a powerful follower is to literally put yourself in that role with another person.

In these experiential learning laboratories, you’ll sometimes have your video on and sometimes turn it off. You’ll move your body, write, reflect on your own work relationships, and practice communication skills in short exercises and partnered role-plays. We’ll also discuss how to implement followership practices in our respective workplace environments.

Participants will need a copy of Lead & Follow: The Dance of Inspired Teamwork and a regular notebook to write in.

To request this program for your team or community, please fill out the form below.

*Scholarships available. Please inquire.

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


What Clients
& Students
Are Saying

What Clients
& Students
Are Saying