Building courageous followership is an intentional organisational process. Courageous followers are creative and innovative, propelling their organisation’s success higher than average organisational followers.

Sadly, many organisations today, despite the knowledge on the advantages of building an inclusive leadership culture, still exercise an “All powerful leader” culture in their organisation. This is a drive right from the top leadership. The way they engage their employees and the culture they build around their employees. Most organisations, including top global organisations, have built this culture consciously over time and some unconsciously due to divergence between what the organisation propagates in their written core values and what the top leadership practice. The organisations have created submissive followers, not taking advantage of their resources for optimal performance.

For optimal success in today’s VUCA environment, organisations across all orientations need to foster collaborative leadership and followership.

Collaborative leadership enables organisational leaders to understand their influence and use it to compel their teams towards the shared goals/values positively. Additionally, collaborative leaders build collaborative followership. Collaborative followership entails courageous followers who work with the leader to deliver the shared values and goals of the organisation.

In a collaborative relationship, we have influential leaders and Courageous followers working together to drive the shared organisational values. Three key focuses must be in place for success.

  1. The Influential leader must understand their authority and turn it into a positive influence in building courageous followers.
  2. The influential leader and the followers must be glued and have a common interest, driving the achievement of shared values or goals for the organisation. Divergence from this means each party is driving their values and goals and, therefore, a source of conflicts in the relationship.
  3. The Courageous followers must understand the dilemmas facing the leader and all the pressure it comes with and support the leader in driving the achievement of the shared values and goals.

Common set-back in this relationship arise due to the following.

When the leader views followers’ relationship as a parent-child relationship. This can result in rebellion from the followers and a lack of inclusivity and appreciation of the value of the followers from the leader.

Parents-child relationships are more dependent and kill followers’ creativity and innovations, resulting in below optimal productivity.

Regardless of age, your followers are not your children in an organisational setting in whatever orientation. To take Responsibility and drive optimal productivity, they must be appreciated for their strengths and weaknesses.

I have talked more about how to develop into an influential leader in my upcoming book “Engage and Productive” – 5 mind shifts in building highly engaged and productive teams—coming out in August 2022. Watch out for it.

Let us briefly discuss the charsteristics or dimesions of courageous folowers for understanding. Many scholars and leaders have extensively discussed courageous followership. I borrow the same philosophy from Ira Challeff, who wrote the book “Couragoeus followership. Below are seven critical dimensions of courageous followers for your note as a follower, but also for your understanding as a leader of how you can build courageous followers and not submissive followers. This is the only way to ensure you achieve optimal productivity on the shared goals and values as an organisation.

Courageous followers:

  1. Take Responsibility  – they assume their Responsibility without push and are essential players in playing their part in the achievement of shared goals.
  2. Serve their Leaders – by going over and beyond their assigned tasks, supporting their leaders in decision-making, and unburdenning the challenges their leaders encounter along the journey to achieving shared goals by standing up for their leaders in tough times.
  3. Challenge Status Quo – share their contrary options respectfully when they engage. Challenge extreme and outdated policies and procedures that are hurting the achievement of shared goals.
  4. Stand for Morality – Value harmony but not at the expense of integrity. Know when to stand for contrary moral action respectfully. Know when to disobey, including to the extent of resignation respectfully.
  5. Speak to Leadership – Know when to sensitively and strategically speak up to the leadership.
  6. Listen to other Followers – Collaborate, and develop mutual trust, respect and understanding. Disagree with agreeing.
  7. Transform – understand when to change the status quo for the better. Take the initiative to change the status quo and jump-start a transformation.

These are but some of the characteristics or dimensions of courageous followership. Practice them as a follower, encourage such as an influential leader and see your team’s productivity change.

All the best, let us get in touch for more discussions on how we can help your teams and leaders understand how to utilise their power of influence beyond the authority of their positions to better their teams and organisation.

About the Author

Gilbert Ang’ana (PhD Cand.) || CEO at Accent Leadership Group

  • Certified Leadership Coach and Teacher by Maxwell Leadership Team (MLT)
  • Certified Engagement & Productivity Coach by International Coaching Federation (ICF)
  • African Leader of the Year 2022 by
  • Coach Consultant of the Year 2022 by
  • Top 50 thought leaders and influencers by
  • Top 40 Global Change management Gurus 2022 by

Published by Coach Gilbert

I am Gilbert Ang'ana (Coach), the CEO/Founder of Accent Leadership Group. I am a Leadership Coach, Scholar and Practitioner with extensive experience in Corporate Leadership (15+ years). I am also an Award-winning Global Change Management Expert. I have worked with over 2000 leaders worldwide on various change management initiatives through Coaching, Training/Teaching, Speaking and Research. My purpose and that of my organisation are to Advance Leadership Advocacy in Africa and Beyond Through Coaching, Teaching & Research to Build a movement of Leaders whose Power of Influence will far Exceed the authority of their Position. Want to be part of this movement? Join our various programs at

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