smiling woman wearing business suit

Ruth Sims

followership - it's more than "follow the leader"

Good to meet you

I am an organisational development and communications professional based in Adelaide, Australia.

I believe organisations need good leaders and good followers. We need a holistic understanding of success. My PhD studies explore followership as a crucial part of workplace relationships and processes.

Relationships are fundamental to working well together. I have worked effectively with CEOs and senior managers, students, academic and professional colleagues, and members of professional and community groups. I listen in order to make connections between people, ideas and information.

I plan, strategise, and then implement to make sure goals are achieved and deadlines are met. I can see the big picture as well as the detail of how to get where we need to. I finish what I start.

Integrity is important to me in my relationships and in the organisations and causes I align myself to.

How can I help you?

My skills in communication and connecting people, information and ideas can help you with:

  • developing and delivering professional development and planning workshops
  • facilitating meetings and discussions
  • organisational planning and review
  • researching and writing

My research into followership and ability to translate academic findings into professional practice sets me apart.


It is likely that good leadership is not sufficient for organisational success without good followership.

My PhD research explores expectations about followership and follower behaviours. This is important because it is not yet clear what effective followership is, or what followership behaviours contribute to individual work performance and organisational success.

A better understanding of followership, followership behaviours, and the contribution followership makes to organisations, will have important practical implications:

  • reward and recognition of effective followership
  • recruitment and selection of employees who contribute by following well
  • professional development of both followers and leaders to
    • improve the effectiveness of followers’ followership behaviours and
    • develop leaders’ understanding of followership.

An Australian Government RTPd stipend and fee offset scholarships supports my PhD studies.

Sample Projects

Introducing followership in the workplace

An interactive one-hour workshop. At the end of the workshop participants

  • have been introduced to folowership as an integral componant of the leadership relationship and process
  • have a better understanding of how they think about followership in themselves and others
  • begin to apply this understanding to their roles as leaders and followers.

Professional development and planning workshops

Positive participant feedback and repeated requests for delivery.

Professional and community development

Stepping Up

A year-long structured professional development program for emerging leaders within UniSA International. Three quarters of participants achieved a career success within six months of completing the program.

Imagining our future together

A 24 month project for a community group to identify where it should commit effort and resources over the short to medium term to help ensure that in 10 and 20 years time it remains vibrant and relevant.

Organisational development

Responding to staff survey feedback

A planned, sustained, coordinated response to staff attitude surveys which resulted in improvements across each of the 68 survey variables. Staff satisfaction showed statistically significant improvement, and the unit was placed in the top quartile of organisations within the survey provider’s database.


  • Very useful program. Learned a lot about working in a team and gained valuable experience across a multitude of roles.
  • My confidence has been improved through experience interacting with different groups of staff at different levels.
  • As a mentor the program appears to be very comprehensive and well managed. Congratulations.
  • It was helpful for me to work on my mentorship skills, including listening, looking at strategic ways to solve problems,and learning more about a different area of the university than the one I currently work in.

Stepping Up participants and mentors

  • Ruth was terrific - professional, engaging, honest, articulate, funny and clearly possesses a wealth of knowledge on the subject. Thank you!
  • Enjoyed it, facilitator was knowledgeable and approachable.

WorkSmart Workshop Participants

  • Great skills...wonderful experience with this tutor
  • Very prepared, knew the topic and was effective
  • She was so nice and she was very clear and easy to understand, she encouraged everyone to participate and she created a very positive learning environment
  • Clear and inclusive
  • She has a good methodology for teaching and explaining things in different ways

Student evaluation of teaching comments

  • Will you change anything as a result of the workshop?
    Definitely! – provided a focus for future work
  • Did the workshop meet your expectations?
    Yes it was fantastic and very pleasing for me as Manager

Planning workshop, Marketing and Development team, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Flinders University

  • Ruth is a deep thinker who brings energy and maturity to the job at hand. She looks for holistic solutions outside the square and is able to adeptly juggle conflicting priorities. All this whilst managing to maintain a calm demeanour! Her extensive corporate knowledge and comprehensive understanding of the nuances of our unit’s corporate culture was a fantastic asset.

Gabrielle Rolan Director International, University of South Australia



Human following and leading in the workplace.

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Contact Ruth