Column: Follow before you lead

Analicia Haynes, Staff Reporter

It is always been said that to become a leader one must first learn to be a follower. 

I could not agree more with that notion because it is the same concept that applies to infants when learning to walk. 

It is a methodology, a process that everyone undergoes before being able to reach the ultimate goal in this instance that ultimate goal would be walking and eventually running. 

Therefore, those who wish to be a leader in their field of work or their school must first learn how to follow.

Being a follower is not a bad idea either.  That process really is intended to gain experience points. 

How can you lead a party of people into battle and not know what you are fighting for?  Granted, that has been the question for more than 11 years in America, but I digress. 

When you are a follower you learn who to follow and what ideals you want to defend.  However, what if you learn to follow the wrong crowd?  Thus the negative connotation of a follower is formed. 

The idea that being a follower insists that the individual doing the following is a second class citizen who cannot speak up for himself derives from the choices and actions that individual makes. 

Bullying, for instance, is an evident display of the bad choices a person who follows makes.  The cronies that follow the bully like lost ducklings and instigate an attack on another do so because they do not want to be left out in the dust. 

They want to avoid being bullied therefore they aid the bully to gain appreciation. 

Ladies and gentleman high school is over.  There is no need to try and “fit in” with the cool crowd because the idea of the cool crowd is a fallacy. 

That defeats the true purpose of following. When one follows, he or she picks up bits and pieces of information that are essential in aiding the development of their own ideals, values and beliefs. To be a follower is to learn how to be a better leader and to create your own voice.

Follow with an open mind but do not follow blindly in order to better ones self. Therefore, some day the follower will be able to exercise free speech and express the values and beliefs they thoroughly constructed through their experience. 

A follower must be willing to interpret different ideals and empathize with whom they are following without holding that leader as the golden rule. 

The majority is not always right so do not follow just because everyone else said to do so.   Also, learn who to follow and what ideals you should follow.

History is a key example in deciding who to follow and what to follow. 

When you follow blindly and neglect to cultivate your own opinion and voice based on what you learned congratulations you have just managed to transport yourself to 1936 Nazi Germany.    

If you are going to follow someone make sure it is the right person who will not leave you in a desert to dry up and dissipate until you become one with the sand.

Instead, follow the individual who exhibits leadership traits such as integrity, courage, and unselfishness, which are just a few that, I firmly believe, are crucial for any leader to possess.

To be leader is to be a follower.  Before you can lead a club or a revolution follow those who will help you become a better leader.

Analicia Haynes is a freshman journalism major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]