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 followers and good leaders. We need a holistic understanding of success. I bring a research-based, expert understanding of followership. My skills are in planning, making connections between people and ideas, engaging written and interpersonal communication, and the ability to listen.

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 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.

My experience includes research, communications, project management, planning and review, providing strategic advice to senior managers, training design, workshop facilitation and mentoring, as well as leadership in professional and community groups.


Followership is a necessary, but misunderstood, part of leadership in organisations. My PhD research into followership and leadership explains how leaders and followers achieve success together. It challenges how we often think about workplace relationships and roles.

A better understanding of followership, followership behaviours, and the contribution followership makes to organisations, has implications for reward and recognition, recruitment and selection of employees who contribute by following well, and professional development of both followers and leaders.

"Ruth is doing really ground-breaking research to better understand followers and followership in organizations. …I suspect that understanding and developing good followers in organizations may actually be a secret key to success, and every bit as important as leadership development. Ruth's research sheds important insights into this phenomenon of followership." Professor Ingrid Fulmer.


Interviewed for hrm online.

Read article


Conversation with Sharna Fabiano, author of Lead & Follow: the dance of inspired teamwork.

Listen to podcast

Conversation with Seriously Social host Simone Douglas.

Listen to podcast

Professional development workshops:

  • in person or online
  • 1 hour and half day options or
  • contact me to develop a workshop that meets your organisation's unique needs.

"interesting and useful" "a significant missing piece of the leadership puzzle" "informative and engaging"

Sample Projects

Introducing followership in the workplace

At the end of the workshop participants

  • have been introduced to followership 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.


  • I highly recommend Ruth's work as a signficant missing piece of the leadership puzzle, and equally as much recommend Ruth herself as a generous, warm provider of knowledge and insight.

Adam Thompson, Network Convenor - Organisational Design and Development SA

  • In April 2020, I was fortunate enough to have registered for an AHRI network presentation by Ruth Sims on “Followership”. Ruth’s presentation was informative and engaging. I identified with the evidence-based approach of the little known leadership topic of “followership”. … I recommend others seek out Ruth’s expertise in this area to appreciate how well followership will weave into their leadership, culture and organisational development strategies.

Samantha Wilkinson

  • Ruth is doing really ground-breaking research to better understand followers and followership in organizations. Sure, leaders get a lot of the attention, but did you ever stop to think that a leader can't lead if no one follows? And as all leaders know, there are definitely better and worse followers. In fact, I suspect that understanding and developing good followers in organizations may actually be a secret key to success, and every bit as important as leadership development. Ruth's research sheds important insights into this phenomenon of followership, so stay tuned!

Professor Ingrid Fulmer

  • 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.

Read Blog

Contact Ruth