The Chief sends it ...

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Followership --Think about it, talk about it, and hopefully you'll do a great deal about it.

We've got fistfuls of EPRs (Evaluation Performance Report) that let the world know that we're outstanding leaders, we expend costly resources learning about leadership, and we spend a great deal of time talking about how we can collectively lead ourselves through this period of great change in our Air Force. No doubt, leadership is an important topic. With that said, I think if we're not careful, we could find ourselves so preoccupied with the subject of leadership that we might forget just how important the art of followership really is to our ability to fly, fight, and win.

We are all leaders and followers to one degree or another, and we shift back and forth from leader to follower everyday without much thought. I think all of us could use a followership tune-up. Here are the basics:

Know yourself and seek self-improvement/Be a "sharper knife."

This requires some self-reflection. Know and understand your individual strengths and weaknesses. Look for opportunities to develop those areas that need improvement. When leadership is looking to make things happen they turn to those in the organization that are versatile, well-rounded, and technically competent.

Develop organizational understanding/What am I doing here?

Know where you and what you do fits into the overall mission. If you don't know, find out. Don't be afraid to ask. It's an important question and supervisors should take the time to make sure it's answered before it's even asked.

Take responsibility for you/Be low maintenance.

Don't you be the one who can't be on time, meet appointments or maintain a high state of personal readiness. Don't be the shop gossipmonger, complainer or pessimist. Be the squared away Airman. Know what needs to be done and do it on time, every time. Simply put, get and keep your stuff together.

I've barely scratched the surface of this topic. I encourage leaders at all levels to remember they are followers too. Go the extra mile; see what other professionals from other walks of life are saying about followership. There is a ton of information on the web on this topic from the academic and business communities. The lion's share of the reading I've done on this topic has great utility right here in our community. Use this knowledge to our advantage!