Year of Leadership: Without followership, leaders are alone

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Paul Nedrow
  • 341st Missile Wing Command Post superintendent
In the dictionary, followership is defined as the act of following a leader or supervisor. By mere happenstance, all military members have a part in followership from their first days in military training. It's more likely that most Air Force members will be followers more often than being a leader. 

From my experience in taking orders, implementing Air Force Instructions and serving as an immediate supervisor, followership gets the mission done. Every member in the military picks up qualities of followership in the operation of our day to day business - whether it is decision making, communication skills, commitment and most importantly, integrity. These are but a few of the qualities of followership that apply to creating an environment necessary to complete the Air Force mission. 

The art of followership is not something that can be done without the proper motivation or efforts from leaders. This can be as simple as listening and responding to subordinate ideas that help complete tasks in your work centers. Through these types of interactions, a mutual trust is forged. Leaders need for their followers to trust that they will do as they say they will do. People base this decision on the evidence that they perceive. 

How does this apply to the everyday work here or the Air Force? All Air Force personnel have tasks that are required to be accomplished in their squadrons -- using the proper tool, following the tech. orders, checklists or procedures. Don't try to shoot from the hip and complete a task just to get out of the office or back out of a site by a certain time, because I can guarantee the eyes that are watching you will emulate your incorrect action when you are not there and it will be passed on to many others. 

The results of simply not opening a checklist or tech. order could be catastrophic. In the business of extreme weapons, the Air Force needs extreme leaders to fulfill everyday tasks to perfection. From having a spotter when backing out of a parking spot in a GOV to filling a prescription at the pharmacy without incident, followership makes the team effective to complete the mission here. Without followership, leaders are alone.