How to Follow Well —  February 23, 2014

As they traveled from town to town, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey. (Acts 16:4).

Most of people like to be in charge, only a few enjoy followship. However, with the exception of very few people in this world, most of us find ourselves under the authority of someone. In the above mentioned text we see how Paul and Timothy take the agreements made in Jerusalem (their leaders) and take them to the brothers of the churches (their followers). I admire the fact that Paul and Timothy presented the Jerusalem’s decrees to the churches just as if these were their own. It is possible that they might have not agreed with all the decisions that had been made. However, they taught the churches as if they themselves had written the decrees. It is so easy to get detached from our leaders’ decisions, especially when these are not popular. But a good leader is loyal to his/her organization as long as it follows the principles outlined in the Bible.

How do you become a good follower?  What are the characteristics of a good subordinate? Think on the following three things.

1. Be a bridge.

Connect your followers with your leaders. Bridges are used to avoid abysses and obstacles so two separate parts can be connected. This is an appropriate description of the role of a leader.  By serving as a link between your leaders and your followers you will be:

A. Showing integrity. This inspires your followers.

B. Showing loyalty. This motivates your leaders.

C. Showing support. This encourages your teammates.

2. Treat your boss as you would like your followers to treat you. 

It is interesting to see how some leaders demand loyalty and support, but when they were followers, they undermined trust in their leadership. Perhaps this is the reason why they now seek to control their subordinates and have developed a paranoid attitude. However, when we put ourselves in the shoes of our leaders, we can see things from another perspective.

3. Express your disagreement with respect.

Eventually in each organization, the “bosses” will make decisions that the followers will disagree with.

What should you do in the event that you feel that you can’t support a decision, or you find it wrong?

1. Be patient.  Ask. Probably, you are not getting the whole picture.  Take the time and investigate all the points, try to see the situation as others see it.

2.Be respectful. Demonstrate respect for authority. Make your questions free of sarcasm and mistrust.

3.  Be wise. Walk, act and speak with prudence. In particular be very careful with what you share with your followers. There are things that need to be spoken, but at the right time. Be an example to your followers on how to generate trust instead of doubt in the leadership.

4.  Be spiritual. Overall, follow a spiritual process. In these cases, Matthew 18 teaches us how to resolve problems. The smaller the circle to discuss our disagreements, the better.

Any more suggestions? Let me know what you think

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One response to How to Follow Well

  1. Armando de León February 25, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    Amen. God continue to bless your ministry.