The basis of any respectable leader is a well-rounded follower. One cannot exist without the other. Every organization, such as the Army, requires a healthy balance between the two in order for it to run effectively.
While many people train and focus on attaining leadership positions, it is the actions of a follower that will determine the level of success a leader will reach. There are characteristics of a follower that differ from a leader, but the amount shared is much greater.A follower is someone who seeks and accepts influence, not only following the footsteps of their superior, but also supporting and encouraging them along the way.
It is not blind obedience nor does it mean not having a voice for oneself. Many notable leaders throughout history started in humble positions and worked their way up the corporate hierarchy; this is a good thing. Arising leaders who work their way up the chain learn the ins and outs of what motivates them and their counterparts. This allows them to learn about proper teamwork and accomplishing set tasks. They also see first-hand what positive and negative leadership looks like and this allows them to develop a sense of compassion for those they will one day lead. These are significant followership lessons that will stick with them as they continue to progress.A servant leader is the definitive essence of motivation, encouragement, and overall inspiration for their subordinates.
Good leadership is crucial to not only the army, but also numerous groups and establishments that shape the way people think, work, and operate. As a Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) in the Army, it is important for a leader to guide their soldiers towards a positive direction where they learn the value of time, hard work, and accomplishing the mission. One of the most important qualities that any Army leader will need to be sufficient is to be an effective communicator. A servant leader is easy to approach without obstacles and their soldiers are never left uniformed.
Although followership and servant leadership share similar characteristics, there are various differences. The main difference is the roles itself. A follower is motivated to do their best while a leader brings out the best from their subordinates around them.
A follower may be hesitant to take on more responsibilities and a leader longs for the opportunity to do so. The ability to decipher between the two will allow one to become aware of where they stand and what they may need to work on. On the contrary, followership is not the exact opposite of servant leadership. The personalities of the two closely match one another. “Being a good follower does not end when one becomes a leader” (UNC Executive Development , 2016). A servant leader must never lose sight of what they learned throughout their journey to the top and must continue to practice good followership regardless of their role. No matter what level of leadership authority, your legacy as a role model can only be amplified by your reputation of how you followed.