I had the good fortune of being part of the YMCA of Greater Toronto‘s Learning Forum on Diversity & Social Inclusion organized by colleagues Jim Milligan, Mike Dodds, Atena Moehring, Kim-Ha Nguyen, and Marcy Robertson.

There are many concepts, perspectives and tools that I take away from this experience. These will be extremely useful to me in my work both at the YMCA and in my other education world.

The concept I wish to share with you here is that of the power and influence of the ‘first follower‘.  Here are some of the main points from a video that was shown.

  1. Leaders are over-rated. If someone does not follow, they are just lone nuts.
  2. The first follower is the one who creates a leader.
  3. The leader had the wisdom to treat the first follower as an equal, which encouraged him to join and stay.
  4. The people who come next are excited to join because now it is still cool and is safe as a lot of people are rushing in.
  5. Somewhere along the way, the people who do NOT join are now appearing to be the nutty ones.
  6. First followers provide an underrated form of leadership.


How might this experience relate to leadership in your school, district or other work environment?