Commentary

May 17, 2013

Followership key to being a leader

Lt. Col. James Blackman
56th Component Maintenance Squadron Commander

Maybe you played “follow the leader” at school during recess or in some neighbor’s yard down the street. It’s a fun game, requires no expensive equipment and can be played indoors or outdoors – just about anywhere. But the game only works if you actually follow the leader, and everyone else in line, well … stays in line. It’s an early test of your followership skills … are you any good at “follow the leader?”

What comes to mind when you hear the word “followership”? Do you think back to your last course in PME and recall it as something to do with leadership? Maybe an instructor once told you something like “followership is one of the key building blocks to being a good leader.” Or maybe a more philosophical mentor said you must first be a good follower before you can be a good leader.

When I think of followership, I think of words like loyalty and trust. These two words help add depth to what a follower is or is not. A follower must be loyal to the boss and more than that, a follower must be loyal to the organization and the overall mission. However, loyalty isn’t the only thing needed, trust is needed too. You have to trust the leader in order to follow.

True loyalty always requires your critical thinking, a level of mental involvement in the “game” so you don’t just hang on for the ride, we need to have our eyes wide open so we can contribute and add our own piece. Critical thinking will sometimes lead us to think the leader is going the wrong way or making a bad decision. Here is where loyalty and trust work together; your loyalty should drive you to express your concern in the appropriate manner to the leader; present your viewpoint, based on your critical thinking and not raw emotion. Once you present your view and the boss doesn’t change their decision; now your level or trust will be tested. What you do right then is what I think is at the heart of true followership.

So what is followership? It can be summarized in one short statement:
You own your bosses decisions – it’s no longer their decision – it is now yours!

So ask yourself; how good are you at “follow the leader?”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Resource management — Doing more with less

Since I joined the Air Force in 1992, our manpower and resources have been gradually reduced with no obvious change to the mission we support. While this has been labeled “doing more with less,” I don’t believe we’re truly doing any more than we did when I entered the military 22 years ago. We seem...
 
 

Situational awareness

Throughout my career, the importance of situational awareness has been driven into my head. This became exceedingly clear to me when I landed in Tabuk, Saudi Arabia. It was March 17, 2003, about 48 hours until Operation Iraqi Freedom kicked off. We were busy building tents, making bunkers and preparing to execute the mission. Doing...
 
 

Chaplain’s thoughts …

There are times in our lives which are marked by a flash of inspiration. Some coincidental event takes place that brings new insight or understanding. One such event happened for me this past fall at the funeral Mass of one of Luke’s longtime friends, Katie Gillen. Miss Katie served as our base librarian for many...
 

 
Kingdom_Hearts_II_(PS2)

Fly Over: ‘Kingdom Hearts II’ and ‘Coaching Bad′

For Play Station II: ‘Kingdom Hearts II’ “Kingdom Hearts II” was released in 2005 for the Play Station 2 gaming console. The game is the sequel to “Kingdom Hearts” but the third in the series published by Square Eni...
 
 

Don’t get ‘Promotion Remorse’

The day I closed on my first house, my realtor and I did a final walk through to ensure there were no last-minute issues that needed addressing. Since I was a first-time home buyer, I didn’t know what to look for, so I finished my walk-through in 20 minutes. My realtor insisted on staying to...
 
 

Keep military records in check

A common issue we see at the 56th Force Support Squadron Military Personnel Section is that our military customers wait until the last minute to check their records. This can become an issue that can cause hardship on the member when it comes to promotion boards, permanent changes of station, retirement and separation. One scenario...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin