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.


 
 

 

My personal leadership philosophy

My personal leadership philosophy can be summed up in just a few words — people first, mission always. Some may mistake the phrase “people first, mission always” as a dictum to coddle unit personnel through adversity, but actually, my focus is on preparing them to overcome adversity. The mission will always press on, but without...
 
 

Work, family balance success marker

“Being successful means having a balance of success stories across the many areas of your life. You can’t truly be considered successful in your business life if your home life is in shambles.” — Zig Ziglar In our careers, we frequently hear about the importance of having balance in our life and job. Some common...
 
 
image001

It’s a way of life

Maj. Ronald Marquez Air Force Instruction 1-1 Paragraph 1.5 states, A way of life. “The mission must be accomplished.” Luke AFB is taking a small break from that mission, back-to-back four-day weekends for some. This means ...
 

 
600-Jesus-Nativity504

Chaplain’s thoughts …

Courtesy graphic Do we have the humility and strength to hear the truth from those beneath us? “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field … All they that heard it wondered at those things which were ...
 
 
a-million-ways-to-die-in-the-west-dvd_600

Fly Over: ‘A Million Ways to Die in the West’ and ‘Home Alone′

On DVD: ‘A Million Ways to Die in the West’ I love Westerns, both dramatic and comedic, and I was eager to watch this movie with the tagline “From the guy who brought you ‘Ted.’” That alone should have been ...
 
 

Gratitude cultivates exceptional leadership

Several months ago I was inspired by the phrase “cultivate an attitude of gratitude.” The topic was presented in a religious context; however, I found these words significant and profound when considered as a tenent of exceptional leadership. Cultivate is an action verb. The word brings to mind images of an experienced gardener patiently tending...
 




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