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Sample Program Proposal
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Example of a Program Proposal

Below you will find an excellent proposal submitted for SEAHO 2016 by Tierza Watts, Director of Residence Education at Georgia Southern University. She provided all the required information under each section and even added a rationale for the significance of her presentation. While the rationale for why a program is relevant is not a specific section of the proposal, it can be helpful for you to provide this to program reviewers.

Program Title:

Be an Exemplary Follower to be a Better Leader


Lead, follow, or get out of the way. Let’s face it, most of us want to lead. And most of us want to learn more about leading, about leaders, about leadership. We read books, watch videos, attend training sessions and conferences. But, management experts tell us that generally the leader’s impact on the total success of an organization is probably less than 20%. Followers though, are carrying the remaining 80% of the load. This workshop is focused on the mid-manager who is often just stuck in the middle. How do you support your RDs and Grads (who are leaders in their buildings) as you serve in the dual role of leader and follower in the central office? Presenters represent all 3 levels of the leadership /followership sandwich and will offer participants the opportunity to take an inventory and dive into follower typology so that they may learn to be an exemplary follower and thus a better leader.


Defining Followership: What is it? (15 Minutes)
o What motivates you to follow your leader?
o What hinders followers?
o Partnership discussion on your current followership experiences
o Kelley’s 7 Paths to Followership (Motivation)

Kelley’s Followership Inventory & Typology (15 Minutes)
Participants will take the inventory & score, discuss their experiences as a leader and follower within the typology with a partner. (Our goal is to ask the audience to sit by position type so that they are talking with a person in a similar role.)

How do we use our knowledge of followership to be better leaders and followers (20 Minutes)
o What I want from my leader; The Resident Director perspective
o What I need from my leader; The Middle Manager perspective

So what do I do now? (8 Minutes)
o Chaleff’s 5 Dimensions of Courageous Followership
o Discussion on how to apply the typology to yourself when considering the leaders you follow
within University Housing and Student Affairs.

Resources to use back on campus. (2 Minutes)

Rationale for Program Presentation:

As leaders in University Housing we often happily watch our young professional staff members embrace their roles as leaders within the buildings we hire them to run. But every year there is a point when several, if not the entire group, struggle with the fact that they are a follower. These struggles take place in many of our departmental team meetings and / or various committee meetings. There seems to be a fundamental lack of understanding about how to switch between these roles. Examples include decision making about budgets, hiring, travel, policy development, etc. On the Residence Life side of Housing we are typically preparing these staff members to manage professional teams so it’s important for us to understand what followers experience, what motivates them, what hinders them and how to keep this in the forefront of our minds as leaders.

Most of us have dual roles as leaders of residence life, facilities or administrative teams. Yet we are still followers most of the time. Thus taking a critical look at your followership motivators will assist you for professional success. Middle Managers often play a buffer role and are sincerely caught in the middle. There is more you have to do to support the department with functions and processes. You serve as a translator of vision, directions, values, and interpret how to put the mission into action. As an entry level staff member you get to vent and deal with frustrations with your supervisor but now that you’re a middle manager, you must process followers concerns and then reorient them within their own leadership role. Followership is about relationship with the leader and the process of fulfilling our value to the organization. Three major authors have written about Followership; Kelley (1992) Chaleff (1995) and Kellerman (2008). All three discuss the need to understand our motivations, how we interact with the leader to be effective as partners in the leadership process, and push us to examine the use of critical thinking by followers. Kelley’s article published by the Harvard Business Review, In the Praise of Followers, spurred a heated discussion across many disciplines and resulted in his book Power of Followership (1992). Both Chaleff’s 2009 work The Courageous Follower, and Kellerman’s 2008 work Followership: How Followers are Creating Change and Changing Leaders, encourages us to remember that a “follower is not synonymous with subordinate ... a follower shares a common purpose with the leader, believes in what the organization is trying to accomplish, and wants both the leader and the organization to succeed.” It’s imperative then that leaders realize that it’s OK to switch roles and empower their followers.

Followership, as a topic, asks us to do two things: 1) examine when and how we give leadership over to our followers so that we are creating future leaders and 2) examine how we are supporting our own followers. Questions we might ask ourselves include: Who’s ready to lead? When do I let go and encourage new creativity for more effective or efficient problem solving? When can I only see the forest, but my followers see the trees? Do my followers feel heard? Do my followers have the resources and materials they need to successful? How am I addressing their needs as young professionals and para-professionals? When reflecting on my supervisors /leaders, am I giving them my best? How am I demonstrating good followership skills and addressing real problems within my organization? Any mid-managers reading this proposal exhausted by this list?

This presentation will give participants an overview of Kelley’s seven pathways to followership which examine our motivations as it relates to our leaders and also allow participants to take Kelley’s followership inventory so that they understand their current motivation within their position at their intuition. We will specifically discuss what entry level professionals want from their middle manager and we’ll discuss what the middle manager needs from their leader. Lastly we will also examine Chaleff’s five dimensions of courageous followership: 1) the courage to assume responsibility and to serve, 2) the courage to challenge, 3) to participate in transformation, 4) to take moral action and to speak to the hierarchy and 5) to listen to followers.


Chaleff, I. (2009) The Courageous Follower: Standing up to and for our leaders

Kellerman, B. (2008). Followership: How followers are creating, change and changing leaders

Kelley, R. (1992). The Power of Followership

Learning Outcomes: 

Learning Outcome #1: To understand the definition of Followership, the Follower - Leader relationship, and the seven pathways (motivators) of followership.

Learning Outcome #2: Provide opportunity for middle-managers to discuss the challenges of being a leader and motivator.

Learning Outcome #3: To complete a Followership Inventory and explore the connection of follower type to Follower Typology

Our Mission

SEAHO advances excellence in housing programs and staff by promoting best practices, networking, professional development and involvement opportunities.