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The Open University

Leadership and followership

The Open University via OpenLearn


Leaders are all around us – we encounter them at work and in our spare time, we read about them in the press – but have you ever wondered what makes them good or bad at their role? You might be considering a leadership role as your next career step, or maybe you’re in a leadership position already and finding it difficult to move your team forward. If you’re interested in finding out more about leadership, from the perspective of a leader or a follower, then this free course, Leadership and Followership will help you. Working through this course will help you to explore what makes a good leader, recognise common leadership challenges, and identify the skills you need to develop if you want to enhance your own leadership experience.TranscriptYou’ll start this course by considering your own leadership experience and learning more about different leadership styles. As you progress, you’ll focus on key leadership skills and how you might develop them yourself, exploring elements of both good and bad leadership and looking at possible solutions to problems that can arise. Followership has an important connection with leadership and you’ll find out more about what makes a good follower and how leaders can develop their followers to create more productive relationships and encourage them to consider leadership roles in the future. You’ll look at common leadership challenges and the future of leadership in this changing world. Finally, you’ll identify how you want to develop your own leadership skills and devise a plan to build your experience. Enrolling on the course will give you the opportunity to earn an Open University digital badge. Badges are not accredited by The Open University but they're a great way to demonstrate your interest in the subject and commitment to your career, and to provide evidence of continuing professional development.Once you are signed in, you can manage your digital badges online from My OpenLearn. In addition, you can download and print your OpenLearn statement of participation – which also displays your Open University badge. This course is accredited by the CPD Standards Office. It can be used to provide evidence of continuing professional development and on successful completion of the course you will be awarded 24 CPD points. Evidence of your CPD achievement is provided on the free Statement of Participation awarded on completion.Anyone wishing to provide evidence of their enrolment on this course is able to do so by sharing their Activity Record on their OpenLearn Profile, which is available before completion of the course and earning of the Statement of Participation. Please tell us more about your Continuous Professional Development (CPD) and personal skill development!We would really appreciate a few minutes of your time to complete this survey and tell us about yourself and your experiences of CPD and lifelong learning.The Open University is working in collaboration with the CPD Standards Office in a national study to understand more about individual professionals' experiences, perceptions and practice for adult skill development. Find out more here: participating in this high profile research, you will be contributing to scientific knowledge about adult skill development and how we can develop successful future careers. Participation is confidential, voluntary and we will not pass on your details to others.


  • Introduction and guidance
  • Introduction and guidance
  • What is a badged course?
  • How to get a badge
  • Acknowledgements
  • Week1Week 1: Where are you starting from?
  • Introduction
  • 1 Definitions
  • 1.1 Defining leadership
  • 1.2 Defining followership
  • 2 Are leadership and management different or the same?
  • 3 Reviewing your own leadership experience
  • 4 Identifying your aims
  • 5 Making time for this course
  • 6 This week’s quiz
  • 7 Summary
  • References
  • Acknowledgements
  • Week2Week 2: What kind of leader could you be?
  • Introduction
  • 1 Leadership theory – a brief history
  • 2 Leadership context
  • 2.1 Cross-cultural context
  • 2.2 Generational context
  • 3 What is leadership style?
  • 4 A closer look at leadership styles
  • 5 A closer look at more leadership styles
  • 6 Assessing your own leadership style
  • 7 This week’s quiz
  • 8 Summary
  • References
  • Acknowledgements
  • Week3Week 3: What makes a good leader?
  • Introduction
  • 1 Leadership skills and abilities
  • 1.1 A key leadership skill: emotional intelligence
  • 2 What employers look for
  • 2.1 Different employers value different skills
  • 3 Reviewing your leadership skills
  • 4 Building your leadership experience
  • 5 Keeping a leadership journal
  • 6 This week’s quiz
  • 7 Summary
  • References
  • Acknowledgements
  • Week4Week 4: When leadership goes wrong
  • Introduction
  • 1 What is poor leadership?
  • 2 Defining poor or weak leadership
  • 3 Exploring the impact of poor or weak leadership
  • 4 Common mistakes leaders make
  • 4.1 Advice for leaders
  • 4.2 Advice for followers
  • 5 Developing key skills
  • 5.1 Lack of emotional intelligence
  • 5.2 Lack of integrity
  • 5.3 Lack of resilience
  • 6 This week’s quiz
  • 7 Summary
  • References
  • Acknowledgements
  • Week5Week 5: Why is followership important?
  • Introduction
  • 1 Different follower types
  • 1.1 What type of follower are you?
  • 2 The benefits of good followership
  • 2.1 Benefits for the organisation
  • 3 Can you be a leader without followers?
  • 4 What do followers need?
  • 5 Engaging and developing your followers
  • 6 This week’s quiz
  • 7 Summary
  • References
  • Acknowledgements
  • Week6Week 6: Challenges for every leader
  • Introduction
  • 1 Challenges for modern leaders
  • 2 Building an effective team
  • 2.1 Team building exercises
  • 3 Dealing with internal politics
  • 4 Motivating and developing staff
  • 5 Leading change
  • 5.1 Force field analysis
  • 6 This week’s quiz
  • 7 Summary
  • References
  • Acknowledgements
  • Week7Week 7: The future of leadership
  • Introduction
  • 1 The impact of change
  • 2 The impact of disruptive technologies
  • 2.1 A case study
  • 3 The impact of collaboration
  • 4 Emerging leadership styles
  • 4.1 Responsible leadership
  • 4.2 Authentic leadership
  • 4.3 Politically astute leadership
  • 4.4 Case study
  • 5 Sources of information/expertise to keep you up to date
  • 6 This week’s quiz
  • 7 Summary
  • References
  • Further reading
  • Acknowledgements
  • Week8Week 8: Developing yourself as a leader
  • Introduction
  • 1 What have you learned?
  • 2 Progressing your career
  • 3 Planning your leadership development
  • 4 Networking with the right people
  • 5 Exploring training
  • 6 This week’s quiz
  • 7 Summary
  • Tell us what you think
  • Where next?
  • References
  • Acknowledgements


4.5 rating, based on 2 Class Central reviews

4.5 rating at OpenLearn based on 48 ratings

Start your review of Leadership and followership

  • Profile image for Lakew Tarekegn
    Lakew Tarekegn
    so nice leadership and followership program on this open learn university.
    this program has a great importance on my impact of life for my further study.
  • Profile image for SURIYA VARSHAN

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