Commentary

May 30, 2014

Good followers necessary for effective leaders

Staff Sgt. TIMOTHY BOYER
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

It is perhaps one of the most difficult duties of an Airman, yet one which we tend not to talk about after Basic Military Training or technical training.

We are taught throughout our careers how to be effective leaders, but somewhere in the focus to become effective leaders, we lose the focus on being a good follower.

It is strange that being a follower tends to have a negative connotation. Without followers, many of the things that made our country successful wouldn’t have occurred.

There were certainly civil rights leaders who paved the way to the level of equality we enjoy today, but without people who were willing to follow those leaders, they would have been far less effective.

Could you imagine talking in a history class about the One Man March that made such a huge impact? Hopefully the answer is no. As many are aware, it was a Million Man March and it was because of those who chose to follow that it made an impact.

In the same way, having good followers is critical to the Air Force mission. There are examples of this every day at Luke Air Force Base.

The Airman who follows his technical order to ensure the maintenance he performs meets the safety standards necessary is one example. The Airman who doesn’t really want to be doing the job she is in but understands the role it plays in the bigger picture, so she shows up ready to work and do what her supervision asks without complaining, is another.

One of the gray areas of good followership is when and how to speak up when you may have a disagreement with your supervision. The method to navigate such a challenge varies depending on personalities, but there are some basic ideas that can be helpful.
First, you have to choose your battles wisely. To do this, you must understand your part in the mission. This will guide you as you determine whether it is appropriate to make your suggestion or if it is more important to get the mission done for that moment.
Second, it is important to remember that your supervisor has likely been performing the job much longer than you and has learned to be efficient based on trial and error. Fresh ideas are great and should be shared, but do not be so tied to your idea that you are close-minded to why decisions are made. Understanding why decisions are made is one of the greatest ways to first becoming a good follower which lead to becoming a future leader.

Third, be selective. Retired Chief Master Sgt. Roger Buck once told me what he attributed to his success.

“Make a habit of keeping your mouth shut,” he said. “Do this and when you have something to say, people will really listen.”

His point is a good one. If you make a habit of challenging everything your leaders say or do, you will eventually be shrugged off as a nuisance. However, by choosing your battles wisely, understanding why decisions are made and being silent most of the time, leadership will take you seriously when you have something to add.

It has been said, that to be a good leader, you must first be a good follower. Practice being a good follower, so you can one day be the leader the Air Force needs you to be.




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


 
 

 

Air Force News – March 27, 2015

Hawaii In January a team of intelligence Airmen began building the Pacific Air Forces’ first air watch capability. They shared a small computer nestled inside a cramped workspace. It was recently completed, and the team stood up and operated a 24-hour Pacific air watch. California Air Force Global Strike Command Airmen launched an unarmed LGM-30G...
 
 

People First – March 27, 2015

Editor’s Note: The “People First” section is compiled from information from the Air Force Personnel Center, TRICARE, 56th Force Support Squadron, Airman and Family Readiness Flight, Veterans Affairs, the civilian personnel office and armed forces news services. For the complete story, click on the link in the title. Air Force COOL program kicks off The Community...
 
 

Report released: Luke drinking water

The Luke Air Force Base 2014 Annual Consumer Confidence Report on drinking water quality was released March 12 by the 56th Aerospace Medical Squadron Bioenvironmental Engineering. The Environmental Protection Agency requires this report be available to the consuming public. The CCR describes the presence of the contaminants that may be in the drinking water and...
 

 

iMatter site gives AETC Airmen voice to share innovations

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas — Air Education and Training Command launched the iMatter website Monday, giving all command Total Force Airmen access to an AETC-specific tool for sharing innovations and improvement ideas. The concept took hold based on Gen. Robin Rand, AETC commander, hearing ideas directly from Airmen during his command site visits. “Air...
 
 
DT_150323-F-HT977-149

CSAF makes stop at Luke

Senior Airman Devante Williams Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, and his wife Betty, toured Luke Air Force Base Monday. During an all call, Welsh offered time for questions and answers. More than 1,000 Luke Air F...
 
 

Street Beat

The 56th Security Forces Squadron handled the following incidents March 16 through 22: Tickets Security forces issued citations for 22 moving violations and one nonmoving violation. Emergency responses March 17: Security forces responded to a report of a medical emergency near Bldg. 913. Two Airmen fell from a golf cart when the driver made a...
 




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