The Contract: A Word from the Led


Ayot, William




William Ayot is a poet, presenter and workshop leader. Ayot has received many honors and awards for his poetry, including winning the Piccadilly Poets Competition for spoken word and being commissioned to write a poem for the 400th anniversary of the first performance of Julius Caesar at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. Ayot's poem, "The Contract: A Word from the Led" explores why we follow our leaders and what we expect from them. As Ayot writes: "we follow them - not because we are paid, not because we might see some advantage... but simply because of who they are." Does this hold true in our own experiences and if so, to what extent? What do we look for in our leaders and what do we hope they give us in return? Ayot's piece provides ample opportunities to explore these questions and more.

Full Text*

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Reading - Short Enough to Read Aloud.


Leadership and Responsibility

Big Questions

What do we expect from the people we lead? What do we expect from our own leaders?What is my responsibility to the people I lead?What makes a good leader?

Sample Discussion Questions

  1. Are there any lines or images that particularly stick out to you?
  2. Looking at the first six lines of the poem, does this match up with why you follow who you follow?
  3. Is "who they are" enough?
  4. What does the speaker mean, "when the wave hits the rock?" What would this look like in your work?
  5. Is "faith and confidence" what the followers need "when the wave hits the rock?" If not, what should the leader be passing out?
  6. Does anything in this poem resonate with your own experience as a leader? As a follower?
  7. "What we ask in return is that they stay true." Stay true to what? To whom?
  8. How do you know when you've led well? How do you know when you've been led well?
  9. What questions do you have after reading this piece?
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