At R-MA, we aim to create a holistic learning environment that prepares students not only to get accepted into their dream colleges but also to become tomorrow’s leaders. Effective leadership is a complex skill requiring students to understand group dynamics, employ the principles of adaptive leadership, and utilize a lesser-known skill essential for efficient collaboration -followership. Today, we’ll explore how leadership and followership work hand in hand and how the Cadet Leadership Development Program at R-MA promotes both competencies.
Defining Leadership and Followership
Before we explore the relationship between leadership and followership, let’s clarify what both skills mean and what their mastery looks like to us. What is leadership? Or, more specifically, what is adaptive leadership? The only certainty that can be expected during any project and in any group is change. At R-MA, we recognize the need for influential leaders to constantly evaluate their strategies and adapt to changing circumstances. This manifests through the ability for self-reflection, strong problem-solving skills, and emotional intelligence.
So, what does followership have to do with all of that? While followership may sound like the opposite of effective leadership, the two competencies work together, as we’ll explore later. Followership is the ability to work toward a goal under a leader’s direction. This looks like meeting deadlines, supporting group initiatives, and staying motivated. How do these two concepts work together for students at our private school?
How Followership and Leadership Work Hand-In-Hand
An effective leader wears several hats. Periodically, a leader who typically acts as a teacher must sit in the students’ chair. In addition, to ensure collective success, an effective leader must be proficient in some of the responsibilities of a follower, as discussed above – meeting deadlines, being conscientious, and other roles of that nature.
Finding the delicate balance between these two skill sets ensures the development of a personable leader who achieves goals and constantly improves- all skills we look to foster in the cadet leadership development program at R-MA.
How Cadet Leadership at Our Private School Fosters Both Skills
The R-MA Cadet Leadership Development Program consists of four tracks that work together to create the ideal leader who understands and respects ethics, cares for their health holistically, knows how to pursue success, and has a rock-solid grasp of leadership principles.
The balance between leadership and followership is best achieved through first-hand experience and practice. This is why students in the cadet leadership program get to put theoretical knowledge to work in a series of hands-on group activities each week, where they explore the roles of a leader and a follower and grow a deep respect for both.
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