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.


 
 

 

Balance, key to successful AF life

I believe proper balance is the key to a successful life in the Air Force. Over the years I’ve come to realize that it takes a concentrated effort to maintain balance between a professional life as an Air Force member and personal or family life. Both require constant learning, adjustments, development and attention. It’s easy...
 
 

Avoid claustrophobic career

I have heard many times that education is the great equalizer. The Air Force takes in people of all races, cultures and backgrounds and unifies them under simple beliefs and values. The enlisted force structure serves as the common language for force development, and education plays a major role. We all know education creates opportunity,...
 
 

Dollars and Sense

Have you contributed to the Thrift Savings Program? Are you now considering taking a TSP loan? Before you do, consider the total costs of the loan and the impact upon your future benefits. TSP loans borrow from your contributions and accrued earnings. Additionally, you are charged a $50 loan fee that is taken from your...
 

 
Wolfenstein_The_New_Order_cover

Fly Over: ‘Adventure Time’ and ‘Wolfenstein: The New Order’

‘Adventure Time’ Usually when I want to relax or just have some “me” time I play a video game, watch a movie, work out or do something exciting. I usually don’t watch television shows, but when I heard about t...
 
 

New form second chance to do EPRs right

Without fail, every time I am around a group of young NCOs, there is one subject guaranteed to come up — the enduring question of “How can I write a stronger EPR for my Airman?” My answer to this question is fairly standard and is one that a chief shared with me many years ago....
 
 

Plan for final out

How many of you are prepared for life outside of the military? Seriously, if you were told tomorrow was your final out, what would you do? We are currently in an environment where Defense Department rollbacks are a serious issue we must all contemplate. Fewer officers are being commissioned. Last year there was only one...
 




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