My Top Ten Leadership Lessons: Part #6

Lesson #1: If you feel it is necessary to continually remind people you are the leader, there is a real possibility you are not.

Lesson #2: Be Last.

Lesson #3: Praise Publicly. Correct Privately. Encourage Consistently.

Lesson #4: Listen and allow input. Never let yours be the only voice you hear.

Lesson #5: Leaders move forward and grow by looking back and learning. Leaders who are successful consistently evaluate past decisions to ensure better future decisions.

Lesson #6: Followership is a prerequisite to leadership. If you have a difficult time following you will have an even more difficult time leading.

Leaders ask people to follow. They ask those with an organization to trust their ability to move the organization toward a desirable destination. Leaders ask others to set aside their many individual wants, desires, and plans and come together around a single focus. Effective leaders understand their leadership started with willing followership. To ask someone else to give up their own wants and desires for the good of the organization, a leader must know what it means to have been asked to do the same thing in the past – and did it. This principle is best illustrated within the ranks of the military. In the Marine Corps, the Private is the lowest ranking enlisted person. No one is below and everyone is above. As the Private learns to be led by taking and following orders, he/she will understand what is being asked of them. When that Private becomes a Sergeant, the lessons learned by being a good follower enable good leadership. Followership is a prerequisite to leadership. If a leader has been unwilling to follow the leadership given to them in the past, it is unlikely he/she will be able to effectively lead people in the future.

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