Be The Best Follower A Leader Could Wish For Proteus Leadership I Leadership I Programs
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Be The Best Follower A Leader Could Wish For

"Followership is not a position or title; it's a mindset and a set of behaviours that contribute to organizational success."
Barbara Kellerman - American professor of public leadership

Trying to lead without any followers is not leading.

You may be somebody with great vision and positive intent, but without followers you will not be effective. In fact, you will simply be lost and lonely!

For the past thirty plus years at Proteus, we have been dedicated to developing leaders and helping them and their workplaces flourish. In fact, our Proteus tagline is ‘Creating Great Leaders’, and our company name Proteus Leadership, intentionally has Leadership in its title.

In understanding leadership fully, we must embrace the notion of followership. They are two sides of the same coin or to mix metaphors, it’s a dance where we continually switch roles. We need to be influencing and motivating each other (regardless of title), to make progress towards our shared goals. Sometimes leading, sometimes following!

Followership is no longer about obeying orders or just passive obedience. It’s about creating reciprocal relationships and personally committing to being an active contributor and team player. Here, workplace goals along with great customer outcomes trump the individual.

Even the most senior person in the room needs to be a follower at times in this dance. And inversely, the most junior people in the room need to know when to take the lead. It’s about embracing the Leadership / Followership Dance.

Everyone has their role to play and together, we have the potential to create a beautifully choreographed performance.

However, this will all be in vain if followers passively sit there waiting for orders. Ironically, despite them being given directions, their unwillingness to genuinely take part in the dance, undermines any chance of team success. This is especially acute if followers are resentful of authority.

If your current role is more of a follower (where you have no title or authority) and you find yourself working with a toxic boss or in an old-school autocratic workplace, then you need to take the lead. Orchestrate your next dance move and get on with leading your life by taking back the controls. You don’t have to be a victim of your current circumstances.

However, for everyone else (in most workplaces) where we find ourselves in good organisations with good bosses that exhibit overall good intent, may I suggest that we make a commitment to ‘Stop with all the complaints!’

Stop focussing on what’s wrong. Stop demanding all your individual wants, needs, rights and entitlements. Flip this by asking yourself, “What are my responsibilities? How can I contribute and proactively become part of this ‘workplace dance’ where we can create something amazing for our customers?”


“To be a great follower, we need to have a 'Servant Heart'. Where we approach the dance floor with a great attitude, with enthusiasm and optimism for great client outcomes. While we remain agile and curious throughout the entire performance.”

To do all of this we must focus on this one thing: Be The Best Follower A Leader Could Wish For!

For all of us ‘official’ leaders, with the privilege that comes with that authority of title, go ahead and replicate the exact same qualities that we’ve outlined to become a great follower.

Then get on with orchestrating the dance while being The Best Leader A Follower Could Wish For.

Wishing you a wonderful week of doing the Leadership / Followership Dance.

Have a wonderful week,




Richard Dore
CEO - Director of Partnerships

Proteus Leadership


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Have You Listened To The Let's Go - Let's Grow Podcast With Des Penny Yet?

If you're looking for a podcast that will help you become a better leader and grow your business, we highly recommend Let's Go - Let's Grow with Des Penny. Whether you're a seasoned leader or just starting out in your career, you're sure to find valuable insights and inspiration in these conversations. So, why not give them a listen today and subscribe by clicking on the link below?

Let’s GO – Let’s GROW Podcast


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Feature Program
Emerging Leaders
Multi-Session Program

Next Virtual program:

Jun 18, 25, Jul 2, 9, 16, 23


Face-to-face programs:

Brisbane - Sep 17, 24, 25 and Oct 1
Adelaide - Sep 17, 24, 25 and Oct 1



Today like never before, organisations need supervisors and team leaders who are highly effective and produce results through people.

Technical skills and experience on the job were often sufficient in the past, but having the knowledge and skills to manage yourself and others is also essential in today’s business environment.

Many of the mistakes that supervisors make are simply because they have not been shown the right way at the beginning and therefore they develop bad habits. So why not get the ideas and processes right from the start?

Topics Include:

  • Leading & Managing Yourself
  • Leading Innovation & Change
  • Building Effective Teams
  • How To Think Strategically


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