How Well Do You Follow…as a Leader?

Working with some of the largest companies in Energy, Manufacturing and Technology brings the opportunity to work with a great many leaders who served in the military. As you would expect, they bring tremendous skills and experience in mental toughness, driving for results, and high accountability and ownership. Their military education is a strong foundation for their leadership.

At times though, I’ll work with an individual so intent on proving he’s the world’s greatest leader, that he has forgotten how to follow. An essential part of that military education and the ability to perform at an elite level with your team is followership.


“Often times the best way to lead is to follow,
and the best way to follow is to lead.”
— Cathy quotable

Sometimes the best way to lead is to follow…

You can practice followership by:

  • Asking better questions
  • Simply asking more questions
  • Listening fully and intently
  • Receiving and taking recommendations from your team
  • Expecting recommendations/proposals/solutions from your team (rather than solving their problems for them)
  • Not micromanaging while not being completely hands off

Sometimes the best way to follow is to lead…

Challenge and expect your direct reports to:

  • Show 100% responsibility
  • Demonstrate greater ownership and initiative
  • Ask better questions to promote robust discussion
  • Provide solutions/ideas/recommendations when they see a problem or share concerns
  • Selectively escalate matters to your attention

Begin or continue your practice. Your team, colleagues and loved ones will love it!