Dinner Monday 8th July 2024 – Captain Simon Lash “Leadership and in Particular Followership”

This evening was the first of the new Rotary year with President Paul Russell taking the helm – not for the first time, as Paul was our President in 2001 – 2. He welcomed Mark Butcher, who was unable to attend the Change Over meeting, as our President-Elect, handing over the President-Elect chain of office. Paul welcomed our guest speaker, Captain Simon Lash, who was accompanied by Major James Fitt.

The title of Simon’s talk was “Leadership and in Particular Followership” For most of us present, an unusual title which immediately aroused audience interest.

Captain Simon Lash is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Army Leadership,(CAL). He enlisted into the army in 1996 and was commissioned in 2020. He strongly believes that ‘Leadership follows through followership.’ He has delivered Command, Leadership and Management Training to newly promoted NCO’s and has written leadership insights on Followership and Coaching as a Leader. He is also a co-founder of the Staff and Personnel Support’s Coaching and Mentoring Network.

Followership is a passion for Simon. His wide experience tells him that it is difficult to sell followership to leaders. He has had to dispel many myths, including: Followership is weak, subservient, blind obedience.

Being a follower is difficult to define – those who cannot follow cannot lead. It is followers who achieve, not leaders. You can be a follower and a leader. To create followers the person and the purpose must be aligned. There must be belief, trust, loyalty, commitment and vision. To develop followers, leaders must have vision and the ability to connect with those they are leading.

Simon concluded his detailed and inspiring presentation with the stark reminder that we have lost the art of connecting people, making them feel valued. As he put it, “We need the ‘glue’ that brings people and organisations together.”

Questions tumbled from the audience, one after the other, until the meeting had to close. An excellent conclusion to a most interesting and inspiring presentation.

Thank you Simon.

Diana Brooks

President Paul Russell, Captain Simon Lash and Speaker Secretary Shelagh Bird

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