The Difference between Leadership and Followership
C/CMSgt Abraham Cheng
Leadership and Followership are two very distinct concepts, but it is impossible to have one without the other. In CAP’s leadership text, it defines leadership as an art. Like all the other types of art, leadership takes practice and experience to be skilled at using it. This is where followership comes in. Followership is where you learn to be a leader, where you observe those placed above you, and most importantly, where you learn to follow. Skills you learn as a follower are applied when you become a leader. All leaders are followers, but not all followers are leaders. Therefore, the difference between leadership and followership is the process of learning and gaining the skills required to lead others.
Followership, as its name suggests, is learning to be a follower. Followership is the basic principle when it comes to leadership. A major part of followership is discipline. According to Merriam-Webster, discipline is training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character. Followers, especially in CAP are in a state of training that molds their knowledge of the program and develop a person’s leadership ability. When a person is a follower, their main goal is to learn and develop themself. That way, when the person grows in status and becomes a leader, they will have learned the necessary skills to be able to lead other people effectively. A follower needs to learn from their leader’s mistakes so when they are in a leadership position, that mistake can be avoided from lessons learned in the past. According to CAP’s leadership text, Leadership 2000 & Beyond, Vol. 1, leadership is defined as “the art of influencing and directing a group of people in manner that will win their obedience, confidence, respect, and loyal cooperation in achieving a common objective”.
As it was mentioned above, an art is a skill that takes practice and experience to be able to...
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