There are lots of followers who move when leaders move them. Literally. They get pulled, pushed, and dragged around the floor as a result of someone else moving their bodies from one place to the next. These followers are active, in that they are moving, but they are reactive, not proactive.
“What’s wrong with being reactive?” you ask. Sure, being “reactive” is part of following: the leader provides an impulse and you react to it. One assumes that reaction is a basic expectation of followers, a necessary function of following, a precondition and part of the definition of “following” itself. Not reacting at all implies ignoring the lead or simply disconnecting, neither of which is considered following. (Would it be called “anti-following”?) So yes, followers to some extent should – no, need to be reactive.
Yet I would argue that followers should really be more than reactive – they should be proactive. Rather than simply allow themselves to be moved in response to a lead, they should proactively move themselves.
The usual assumption is that the leader moves the follower, but this is a misunderstanding: the leader – get this – leads the follower. What does this mean? Well, if you were in a tour group, would the tour guide literally pull you from one place to the next? Of course not. The guide provides a direction of movement and where to stop and you move yourself in response. Following should be the same way. The leader initiates your movement in a given direction, and you move yourself in accordance with that lead. Plus, the follower doesn’t just follow, she follows through: she continues moving herself in that direction until otherwise redirected. In this way, the follower creates more stability for herself, smoother movement, more flow in the dance, less need for the leader to constantly lead, and overall improved connection.
Followers, don’t just react. Be proactive, and feel the difference.