They say leadership is hard, and it is. To convince a group of people not financially obligated to you to do something they don’t want to do takes finesse. It takes motivation. Charisma. And you have to do it without hitting anyone.

That takes a special skill, and not everyone is destined to be a leader. Some people don’t WANT to be leaders. Some people belong in a much larger group, called followers. That word has a bad connotation, but I think it takes real character to be a good follower. It takes followship.

Everyone talks about King Leonidas I of Sparta. He was a pretty dynamic leader. But he wouldn’t have held off a million Persians without the help of the other 299.

How about those Soldiers from the 20th Maine when COL Joshua Chamberlain, knowing they were running low on ammunition at Little Round Top, ordered them to fix bayonets and charge? Good leader. Great followers.

Followship takes moxy, if you ask me, because sometimes the leader doesn’t make the best decisions. Chamberlain’s heroics were at Gettysburg; but the 20th Maine was also at Fredericksburg and that didn’t turn out so well, because his boss was incompetent. To be honest, the only good thing Chamberlain’s Commanding General contributed was a new style of facial hair.

Ambrose E. Burnside

Right or wrong, leaders need the troops if they are going to get anything done. It is great being a follower if the guy in charge knows what he is doing. It’s not so great if he doesn’t.

There is one consolation, however, for NOT being the one calling the shots, especially if things don’t go well.


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