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Lead & Follow

Author: Sharna Fabiano

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Lead & Follow offers a personal and provocative discussion of collaboration, teamwork, creativity, and power. Host Sharna Fabiano talks with artists, educators, students, consultants, and everyday working people to explore the subtle yet critical dance between leadership and followership, and how to become excellent in both roles.
32 Episodes
I speak with Dr. Yolonda Tonette Sanders, who shares her recent dissertation research on connections between followers' emotional intelligence and their followership styles, and what this means for leaders in organizations of all kinds.Dr. Sanders is an Ohio native, co-founder of Traction, an organizational change consulting company, and of the Faith and Fellowship Book Festival. She is also the author of six novels, and her hometown of Sandusky, Ohio attracts millions of visitors each year because of the Cedar Point amusement park! Upon graduating from high school, Yolonda moved to Columbus, Ohio to attend Capital University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and another in Political Science. She continued her education at The Ohio State University, receiving a Master of Arts in Sociology. Yolonda used her education and relational skills to write, publish, teach in higher education, and serve in various leadership capacities, including that of CEO, board member, and program director. Most recently, she received a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Organizational Leadership from Indiana Wesleyan University. She enjoys spending time with loved ones and engaging in endeavors that enhance her personal and spiritual growth and that of others.  This episode is Part 3 of a 3-part series on Indiana Wesleyan, so please do go back and listen to Parts 1 and 2. “If you look at the characteristics of ideal followers, they have characteristics of people with high emotional intelligence.”"Organizations should do more to build followership and teach that it’s ok to speak up and ask questions.""I do try to cultivate environments where people are not afraid to challenge me because I am not always right." "We as leaders have to realize that sometimes other people have better ideas. We don’t have all the answers."Episode References Robert Kelley, Power of Followership Ira Chaleff, The Courageous FollowerDaniel Goleman, Emotional IntelligenceBarbara Kellerman, FollowershipConnect with Dr. Yolonda Tonette SandersTraction, an organizational change consulting companyResearch Gate Scholarship PageAmazon author pageFaith and Fellowship Book Festival *Connect with your host Sharna
I speak with Grace Wright, board president of the Euclid Hunger Center and  community resource manager at University Settlement, a social service agency serving the Slavic Village neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio.  She has worked in hunger relief services for the last 12 years, managing hunger centers in the Greater Cleveland area. She has an undergraduate degree in social work and nonprofit management and in August of 2022 she completed the John Carroll University MBA program. In her free time, she is an avid music lover and enjoys spending time with friends and family. This episode is Part II of the John Carroll University series, so if you missed Part I, where I talk with Dr. Scott Allen about teaching leadership and followership, please do go back and listen! Grace shares her experience in the John Carroll program and how her understanding of followership is influencing how she leads. “I think we get so caught up in thinking about leadership that we forget how critical [followership] is, and how much influence we actually have within a team.”“I think it’s really easy to make assumptions about someone’s style of about what their intentions are, and I think we have to be really in tune with the little hints that everyone gives us to be able to draw a more solid conclusion about where anyone it at.” “Every interaction is an opportunity to just learn a little bit more, gain a little bit more understanding, and then utilize that in ways that help you to be a better follower or lead in a way that is going to be more effective.” “We are constantly learning, and we have to be willing to evolve with our teams and not stay in that same place and think that the same thing is going to work for everyone.”University Settlementwww.universitysettlement.netEuclid Hunger Centerwww.euclidhungercenter.comTango VideoLeadership and Followership: What Tango Teaches Us About These Roles in Life *Connect with your host Sharna
I speak with Chad Bennett, Director of Technology for Sturgis Public Schools in Michigan and Tech/Production Director for Radiant Life Church.  Chad will complete his Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Leadership from Indiana Wesleyan University in April 2023, and in this episode, he shares his experience in the program learning leadership and followership together, and how that double lens is guiding his current work.This episode is Part II of the Indiana Wesleyan University series, so be sure to go back and listen to Part I, featuring Professor Michael Linville and Division Chair Mark Rennaker speaking about their new textbook, Essentials of Followership.“If you don’t give people the chance to excel and grow, you’re just going to have a team full of people that only can do a handful of things, and then the leader has to pick up the pieces and do everything.”“It helps everyone feel like their contributing even though maybe their position doesn’t feel like they contribute to the bigger needs of the district or the organization.”“The teams that are the strongest, they have [both servant leadership and followership].” ReferencesJohn 13: Jesus Washes His Disciples Feet Ira Chaleff, The Courageous Follower *Connect with your host Sharna
I speak with Michael Linville and Mark Rennaker about their new textbook, Essentials of Followership: Rethinking the Leadership Paradigm with Purpose, and about the Division of Leadership and Followership Studies at Indiana Wesleyan University. The textbook is an absolute game-changer and every leadership education program in the country needs it!“Why are we even together as leaders and followers? It’s not for no reason. It’s purpose. Therefore purpose must be what defines us, refines us, and drives us.”“Once our students begin to learn that a proper understanding of the follower in an organizational context is a role rather than a rank, then their perspectives begin to shift.”“Students will say things like 'this is the course that taught me the most about leadership.'"“Every leadership course needs to address followership. You cannot understand fully the nature of leadership without also considering followership. I think it starts there."“I think well done followership study has a freeing component to it because of that breaking out of the psychic prison of rank.”Michael W. Linville is professor in Indiana Wesleyan University’s PhD in Organizational Leadership program. He holds several certifications in areas such as leadership, emotional intelligence, and personality typology, including Ira Chaleff’s Followership Train the Trainer program. Combining 15 years of corporate experience with 25 years of international nonprofit experience (including four years directing a college in Kiev, Ukraine), Linville was awarded Dragomanov University’s Silver Medallion Award in 2009 for his service and contribution to education in Ukraine. He also leads an international nonprofit organization that he founded in 2001 and is the cofounder and senior adviser of a leadership think tank based in Ukraine. Linville regularly presents on leadership and followership topics at various national and international academic and professional conferences, including the International Leadership Association’s Annual Global Conference. He also consults with organizations and individuals both nationally and internationally.Mark A. Rennaker is chair of the Division of Leadership and Followership Studies at Indiana Wesleyan University. He served 30 years in faith-based and nonprofit leadership roles at local, regional, and national levels. He has also served a variety of leadership roles during 15 years of higher education experience, and he is certified with Ira Chaleff’s Followership Train the Trainer program. Rennaker has multiple research interests, including servant-leadership, trust, followership, and human resource development. Rennaker regularly presents on leadership, followership, and higher education topics at national and international academic and professional conferences, including the International Leadership Association’s Annual Global Conference. He consults with organizations and speaks at various events. Connect with Dr. Michael Linville and Dr. Mark Rennakerwww.purposeshipmatters.comOrder your copy of Essentials of FollowershipOrder at Kendall HuntOrder on AmazonOrder at Barnes and Noble  *Connect with your host Sharna
I talk with Scott Allen, PhD, professor of management at John Carroll University, on integrating followership into leadership education and training, especially through the Collegiate Leadership Competition, which he co-founded. Scott is also an author and the host of the podcast Phronesis: Practical Wisdom for Leaders, and he regularly leads workshops across industries. “There’s a word that we need to come up with that isn’t leadership or followership. There’s something more holistic there.” “We are building awareness that there are two sides of the coin. This is a system at play.”  “What we’re really trying to do is bring students to a place of intentionality." Connect with Scott Allenwww.scottjallen.netCollegiate Leadership Competitionwww.collegiateleader.orgPhronesis Podcast EpisodesDr. Barbara Kellerman - Leader, Followers, & ContextsDr. Ron Riggio - Leadership: Here's What We KnowSharna Fabiano – Connect, Collaborate, Co-CreateSharna Fabiano – Lead & Follow Dr. John Ross - Team Unity: A Leader's Guide to Unlocking Extraordinary Potential Other ResourcesJohn Ross, Team Unity Kansas Leadership Center, “Intervene skillfully”Youtube Video Clip, Apollo 13 - A New MissionMike Linville and Mark Rennaker, Essentials of FollowershipAnthony E. Middlebrooks, Scott J. Allen, Mindy S. (Sue) McNutt, James L. Morrison, Discovering Leadership, second edition *Connect with your host Sharna
Henry Sergent is a third year student at Christopher Newport University and a participant in its unique President’s Leadership program, which now includes a whole course on Followership. He shares his experiences putting both leadership and followership into practice organizing the student golf club, in a late-night fraternity meeting, and on a clothing brand photo shoot! This episode is Part 3 of a 3-part series, exploring the learning of followership as an integrated part of the CNU leadership program. If you haven't already, I encourage you to go back to listen to Part I: Followership at CNU.“Leaders can’t do everything by themselves even if they want to.”“I always think the group dynamic is better when the leader sets the frame and gives it kind of a thesis and then the content is a production of the creativity of the followers and the leader together.”“You need to be very self-aware of your abilities and strengths when you enter a group process.”  “There’s so much fulfillment that can come from being a good follower and enabling a group to go on.” Henry Sergent's Hand-Painted Vintage ClothingIG @sergentvintage *Connect with your host Sharna
Lawson Herold is a recent alumni of Christopher Newport University’s unique President's Leadership program which now includes a whole course on Followership. He shares leadership and followership insights from his work as a crew member aboard the Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser at the Disney World Resort in Orlando. This episode is Part 2 of a 3-part series, exploring the learning of followership as an integrated part of the CNU leadership program. If you haven't already, I encourage you to go back to listen to Part I: Followership at CNU. “The power often relies with the followers” “Leadership can make change intentional, but followership can make change effective.” “What I loved about my time especially in my followership course was learning about the moments of empathy, of compassion, of moral courage, where the choices you make as a follower have impact. I see that aboard the Starcruiser.”   “Storytelling is inherently a vulnerable act. As a leader it’s understanding the audience and as a follower it’s understanding who you are in that space.”   References:Leadership is Half the StoryMarc and Samantha HurwitzLightness & Play - Tova Moreno (Season 1, Episode 18)Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser *Connect with your host Sharna
Lori Throupe and Lacey Grey Hunter, who are faculty and staff, respectively, at Christopher Newport University, share how they have integrated followership into a pre-existing campus-wide leadership program, work that has culminated into a full followership course. This episode is Part 1 of a 3-part series. In Parts 2 and 3, you'll hear from alumni and current students at Christopher Newport who have taken the followership course and participated in the leadership program.Lori Throupe is Leadership Studies faculty and Faculty Director of Academic Success. Lacey Grey Hunter is Director of the President's Leadership Program and Adjunct Professor of Leadership Studies.“We’ve always noticed that students get excited about thinking about things from the followership perspective. What are individuals doing when they are not in particular positions of power?”“Once we started to really broaden the aperture of leadership to focus on more than only the leader, I believe that all of our students began to identify themselves as individuals who had a place within the phenomenon of leadership.”“Once our students are made aware of the fact that being a follower means that you possess power and influence, it changes how they see themselves in the relationship of leadership. I have seen it increase their ability to advocate for their point of view. I have seen students build closer relationships with a leader because they have taken the responsibility off the shoulders of only the leader.”“We see students almost turn completely around because they recognize that the proportion of time that they spend in followership roles is incredibly greater than the proportion of time that they currently spend in leadership roles.” Books The Power of Followership, Robert KelleyFollowership, Barbara KellermanThe Courageous Follower, Ira ChaleffLeadership is Half the Story, Marc Hurwitz and Samantha Hurwitz Other ReferencesCollegiate Leadership Radical Candorwww.radicalcandor.comGlobal Followership Conference, March 24-26, *Connect with your host Sharna
Puppeteer and educator Kelsey Kato shares his observations and insights of leadership and followership in puppetry through his work with Rogue Artists Ensemble, a Los Angeles theater company, and as a performer and guide at Noah’s Ark, an ongoing children’s exhibition at the Skirball Cultural Center.*“It feels very comforting to have a puppeteer who is leading to be giving very clear cues with breath.”“I like to be in a position where I’m creating a foundation for other people to give offers to do something interesting. I find that really fun and I find myself freed by that.”“Having the choice to follow in the way that makes sense to you is really powerful.” ResourcesSkirball Cultural Centerwww.skirball.orgRogue Artists *Connect with your host Sharna
I talk with Pedro Portela, a complex systems thinking coach and a self-described network enthusiast living in Portugal. An engineer by training, Pedro is now a freelance consultant for peace building and conflict transformation. We explore how followership skills play a vital role in peace building initiatives as well as how understanding healthy leading and following dynamics can help us let go of the command-control paradigm so that we can move forward together in a world of complexity and uncertainty."When you’re dancing you’re practicing everything you need to be in the now."“The relationship between lead and follow is out of balance in our world today.”“How can we get our act together as a global civilization?”“I think we tend to forget how much intention there is in our followership decision, and how much power we have by choosing to follow and reflecting on who is it that we want to follow.” “We tend to be blocked in this idea that everyone needs to lead, when really everyone needs to be more in touch with what it is that they want to follow.”  Episode ReferencesJohn Paul Lederach, The Moral Imagination: The Art and Soul of Building PeaceConnect with Pedro PortelaPodcast: It Takes Two to Tango  Linkedin: Flip University 40% off the world's first online Followership course with code LEADFOLLOW40.*Connect with your host Sharna
In this episode, I switch roles with one of my previous guests, Eran Magen, who guest-hosts this week and takes us on a provocative and philosophical journey into the nature of human relationship. We cover a lot of terrain starting from my very first social dance steps to the larger implications of rewriting the conventional script of leading and following roles at work and in society.“Mostly following, and leading-as-needed, tends to be the most effective strategy."“We tend to think leading is primary, but perhaps following is primary. We’re always responding to something.” “Rewrite the script and normalize following as something everyone is doing all the time.”“It’s really noble work to reset these roles because they ripple through every facet of our existence together." Episode References:Joshua Wolf ShenkPowers of Two: How Relationships Drive CreativityMarc and Samantha HurwitzLeadership is Half the Story: A Fresh Look at Followership, Leadership, and CollaborationConnect with Dr. Eran *Connect with your host Sharna
Dancer/Choreographer Daniel Burkholder shares his experience with leading and especially following through the improvisational forms of Contact Improvisation and Feldenkrais Method.Daniel choreographs, improvises, performs, teaches dance and the Feldenkrais Method, and practices mindfulness. His choreographic/improvisational work spans theatrical performances, site-specific events, immersive media, and screendance, and has been presented at numerous venues throughout North America and internationally. His current work includes: “On-Site”, a series of embodied screendance experiments; “Embodied Truth: finding ways to move together”, a collaboration with Kimani Fowlin examining race and gender through the lens of parenting; and, “act/re/act”, a podcast exploring improvisation through conversations with remarkable artists.  His work has been commissioned by The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, James Madison University, and Goucher College, among others. Daniel is currently an Associate Professor of Dance at University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and the director of the MFA in Dance program.“In the act of following there’s a generosity that evolves, and so much is possible.” “There is a sense of leading, but it’s through following the cues that I’m getting from the person I’m working with.” “If I just come through with a hard laid-out plan I miss an opportunity to really see what’s happening in the moment and the possibilities within that moment.”“The trust is that I’m going to enter this relationship where we’re going to be engaging one other with a goal that is supportive, that helps both of us flourish, that opens of new possibilities for ourselves.”Connect with Daniel Burkholderwww.danielburkholder.comListen to Daniel’s act | re | act of Contact Improvisation on Feldenkrais Method *Connect with your host Sharna *Connect with your host Sharna
 Dr. Eran Magen shares his insights around listening as a core followership skill and how the right balance of leading and following helps us form connected, supportive relationships.Dr. Magen earned his M.A. in education and Ph.D. in psychology from Stanford University, completed post-doctoral training in population health as a Robert Wood Johnson Health & Society Scholar, and served as the research director for the University of Pennsylvania's Department of Counseling and Psychological Services. Dr. Magen is the founder of Early Alert, which works with universities, hospitals, public schools and first responder agencies to prevent suicide and promote wellness among students and employees. His work has been published in top-tier scientific journals including Psychological Science, Emotion, and Academic Pediatrics, and has been cited in popular media ranging from Allure Magazine to Psychology Today. He is a member of the Jed Foundation's advisory board, and the founder of Parenting For Humans, a relationship-first, trauma-informed approach to parenting that helps parents build stronger, more joyful relationships with their children and with themselves.“For me listening is very much a form of meditation.”“The core of the how is to spend a lot of time following. Setup, following, and leading.” “To help someone be less upset, we follow. And when they’re done being upset, we check if it’s ok to lead.”  "People don’t always talk about the thing that really bothers them. Sometimes they don’t even know. And if we listen to them well they can find out.” Connect with Dr. Eran**Connect with your host Sharna *Connect with your host Sharna
This episode is a reflective conversation on the creative process with an artist I have long admired, composer and multi-instrumentalist Glover Gill.  Glover and I take a trip down memory lane as we chat about our collaboration on the making of a dance theater piece called Uno back in 2008. Glover also shares insights about leading and following in his collaborations with other musicians and with filmmaker Richard Linklater, emphasizing how great collaboration depends on mutual trust, respect, and relationships built over time.“On a couple of movements of our piece, the writing took control of me and I just had to follow the direction that it was going.” “I almost feel like the best thing I can do in a collaboration is try to do just enough leading to get myself into the follower role as much as possible.”“While I’m looking at little tiny details, he’s looking at the big picture. It’s a symbiosis.”“Part of good leadership is identifying the right structure for the outcome that we want and for the people that we’re working with.”“I think there may be very few things more frustrating than a leader without clarity.” Find Glover Gill’s Music:Siggs Lagoon, Houstonwww.sigslagoon.comWaterloo Records, Austinwww.waterloorecords.comEpisode References:Richard Linklater, Waking LifeWatch TrailerTosca String Quartet/Tosca Tango *Connect with your host Sharna
Tova Moreno is a theatrical tailor in NYC. She shares her observations of leading and following in her work with her mentor, Artur Allakhverdyan, at Artur & Tailors, Ltd. in New York City.  We explore the role of play and lightness in sustaining healthy working relationships over time, and how she expresses these qualities through both followership and leadership. “Play can create richness and depth of connection and that can strongly and positively influence the work environment and make work flow better.”“Trust is what enables play to happen, and for me, play is what enables work satisfaction to happen.”“I help bring lightness and play so that everybody can enjoy, and we can have a beautiful life while doing our work.”Episode References:Dr. Barbara Kellermanwww.barbarakellerman.comArtur & *Connect with your host Sharna
Dr. Carri Dominick is a physical therapist and lifelong athlete. We talk through the dynamics of collaboration on her volleyball team, and how the players lead and follow one another during actual, moment-to-moment game play. Even though players do have formal roles on a competitive team, their actual leading and following actions are fluid based on who has the ball and where it's going next. Strategic verbal communication is a key followership skill that athletes train in from the beginning, and get better and better at over time.“It’s very moment by moment who’s the leader who’s the follower.”“Like any other skill, over time you build more and better communication.”“Your team mates are checking out the surroundings and helping support you.”“The key to success is everyone supporting whoever has the ball.” Connect with Dr. Carri *Connect with your host Sharna
My guest on the podcast this week is Martin Heuschober, a software programmer, blues dancer, and player of table top role-play games, the most famous of which is Dungeons and Dragons. These games are highly improvisational and rely on - you guessed it - highly dynamic leading and following. Martin describes how game master and players engage in collaborative storytelling through continuous exchange of leading and following. I even get to play a short scene as a private investigator, complete with dramatic dice-roll!“A creative follower is something very precious and very delightful”“Following is necessary in both roles.”“When I’m leading I’m creating an opportunity for my follow to show their talent or their creativity and express themselves.”“The essence of role playing is that your actions need to have an impact.” Actual PlayCritical role: Probably the most prominent (actual play) show right now - these are professional voice actors, so they know how to make their characters be very recognizable. Dimension 20: Series of fun D&D shows by UCB alumniLA by Night: Series in the setting of Vampire: the Masquerade, a horror-themed gameRed Moon Role-Playing: Radio audio drama style of games, mostly horror genreSafety ToolsGehenna Gaming Consent Form: A good tool when running/playing horror games to make sure you are aware of your own and your players boundariesRPG Safety Toolkit by Kienna Shaw: More tools to keep the players comfortable and the characters frightenedAbout Role PlayingAdventuring Academy: A podcast about role playing  *Connect with your host Sharna
Actor/Director Dan Istrate is originally from Romania and graduated from the University of Theatre and Film in Bucharest. He performed at several theaters in Romania and played the lead role in the Romanian feature film, Double Ecstasy, before moving to the US in 2001. Dan describes the organic flow between leading and following as the essence of great performance, and gives inspiring examples of how he has experienced this flow with audiences, directors, and fellow actors. We also explore how anyone can cultivate the fundamental follower state of being open to the unknown. “The unknown is a gift that reveals itself to you. The only way to capture it is to switch from follower to leader or from leader to follower.”“You don’t even know what you can create in relationship with a follower/leader.”“You cannot play the king. By the way the other actors behave, they make you the king.”"Lead and follow must switch from scene to scene, sometimes from line to line."Episode References:Ira Chaleff, The Courageous FollowerConnect with Dan Istrate:IG: @DanIstrateDCFB: Dan.Istrate.796 *Connect with your host Sharna
Dr. Sara Murdock is a specialist on the people and culture side of organizational sustainability, and a diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging consultant. She’s worked with solo-preneurs and giant multi-nationals, executives and front-line staff, and everything in between. She shares her keen observations of how people and companies are navigating power and leadership at this time of immense upheaval, how to design for productive failure, and how the role of followership might influence our future understanding and practice of global and relational sustainability.“I came to see people as the integral component of any successful structure or organizational design and its success.” “I think there’s a human desire to transcend mere survival and create organizational structures that we feel excited about and that are enlivening to us.”“The future is owned by people who can truly shift their own mentalities quickly, effectively, efficiently.” "Having genuine discourse about what’s best for everybody, what’s best for the team, what’s best for the project; that invites everyone to step up into their best self.”Connect with Dr. Sara MurdockLinkedIn: @drsaramurdockWebsite: www.drsaramurdock.comPodcast: Road to Sustainability Podcast *Connect with your host Sharna
Reflecting on his long career working with with non-profits, Dr. Tom Klaus shares the important difference between “buy-in” and true ownership, how content experts and context experts must lead and follow one another, and what 7th graders taught him about relational trust.  We explore his approach to collective change leadership, examine why leaders must occasionally (or often) step deliberately into the follower role, and consider what the term “collective followership” might mean!“The paradigm shift is from buy-in to ownership, which invites people to participate and have a voice and a say in how the change effects them.”“The degree to which you establish a relationship based on integrity and honesty is the degree to which you will grow trust.”“It cannot be one-way. I cannot just, as a leader, be trusting followers. Followers need to be trusting me as well.”“You only build trust and respect through a very conscious and intentional decision to act with integrity toward [another] person. And to let integrity really be the bell weather of your relationship.”References in this Episode:Tamarack InstituteConnect with Dr. Tom *Connect with your host Sharna
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