Leaders as Followers

It will come as no surprise I love a messy organizational opportunity. Working on the team that helped equip over 12,000 students K-12 to receive their own 1:1 learning device created opportunities to engage with many stakeholders in our schools, community, as well as students at all levels. Now I find myself engaging in rolling out the LEADS iIN project next year and it takes me back to our beginning 1:1 work where there was an element of uncertainty and an environment ready to engage in thinking about educational change.

Recently I read a great blog post on Mind/Shift about the fading line between leadership and active followership and the importance of being able to shift between these two roles. I particularly liked the quote pictured below. What a refreshing outlook on developing a landscape where success is built upon leadership NOT acting in isolation.


Leadership isn’t linear or prescribed. Effective leadership requires us to know our strengths within the roles we play and use these strengths to help the organization collectively grow. We need to know when to push, when to support, and when to back up and go another direction. Change isn’t easy and most certainly isn’t always popular, but is often the right path to explore. When you accept your dual role of leader and follower, this path often becomes easier to see.

Take a look at the video below and whereas you might laugh a little, I want you to think about an instance where you have served in a leadership role and when you actively stepped back to build the capacity of those around you as an active follower. What similarities do you notice in both of these opportunities?

First Follower: Leadership Lessons from Dancing Guy by Derek Sivers

I am most certainly excited about the direction we are moving and the opportunities that are present for educators to flex their leadership muscles. Educators are passionate people looking to provide a learning environment that is rich for all students. Perhaps one of the most important roles we can model for students is to ask ourselves…

Are you being intentional about when to lead and when to follow?

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