753 Words2 Pages

The Greek statesman Solon stated, “He who has learned how to obey will know how to command.” Approximately 250 years later, the Greek philosopher Aristotle asserted the converse of that statement when he said, “He who has never learned to obey cannot be a good commander.” The concept of following seems to have been an important idea in ancient Greek times, but why is this idea of being a good follower important to today’s military leader? In order to be a truly effective leader, one must first learn to be a truly effective follower. Learning to be an effective follower is a required facet of effective leadership because we follow others at times, we learn by following, and we develop future leaders by following. The thought that we must follow others at times revolves around two concepts (one relatively obvious, one not so obvious). The relatively obvious concept is the notion that we all have a boss and therefore will be required to follow another person at some point. Buchanan supports this idea when he says, “Every level of the organization reports to someone.” Squad leaders report to platoon sergeants; company commanders report to battalion commanders; brigade commanders report to division commanders; the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff reports to the President; even the President reports to the American people. Buchanan goes on to assert that effective followers are not simply “yes men” but instead “challenge the boss when necessary and share their opinions, even if they might be viewed as controversial.” The concept that is not so obvious is the fact that we are not always the expert. Our knowledge on a particular topic may be limited or even non-existent. In those cases, we must learn to step aside and “... ... middle of paper ... ...dy Bailey, “A Good Leader Knows How, When to Follow,” The Tennessean, http://www.tennessean.com/article/20131020/BUSINESS/310200077/Andy-Bailey-good-leader-knows-how-when-follow?nclick_check=1 (accessed February 28, 2014). U.S. Department of the Army, Army Leadership, Army Field Manual 6-22 (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Army, October 12, 2006), pp. Christine W. Zust, “The Best Leaders Know When to Follow,” available from www.zustco.com/cz_articles/leaders_know_when_to_follow.pdf (accessed February 28, 2014). Raymond W. Cox III, Gregory K. Plagens, and Keba Sylla, “The Leadership-followership Dynamic: Making the Choice to Follow,” International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences 5, no. 8 (December 2010): 46, Academic Search Complete, http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=73343622&site=ehost-live (accessed March 1, 2014).

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that the greek statesman solon said, "he who has learned to obey will know how to command." the greek philosopher aristotle asserted that following was an important idea in ancient greek times.
  • Analyzes how buchanan supports the idea that we all have a boss and therefore will be required to follow another person at some point.
Show More
Open Document