[July 21, 2020] For the past few months, I’ve been looking on eBay to find some old World War II posters for my office. I ran across one with the words “Follow Me!” emblazoned across the top. It turns out that Follow Me is a famous leader command and is the motto of the U.S. Infantry.1
When asked to list my preferred Military Occupational Skill before being commissioned as an officer, I chose Infantry. There were many reasons for this choice. First, I had been an Infantry enlisted man. Second, the Infantry gives you a level of responsibility; almost no other job can give. Third, I wanted to led men in combat to prove to my family that I had what it took to follow a long line of those who served our country. Only later did I learn about Follow Me and what it meant.
This article is the second in a mini-series of blog posts that will be published here. I hope that you find it informative as well as entertaining.
Leadership means getting others to do things they would not ordinarily do, and then do it because they want to. While there are many definitions of leadership, this is the one I like best since it hits two critical points. It is about having a goal and getting people to achieve that goal through intrinsic motivation.
Just imagine, if it is possible, to be a part of a large Infantry unit that is about to attack an entrenched enemy. Think back to the years before Vietnam in a more set-piece military strategy. The recent movie 1917 (2019) gives us a small glimpse into an attack. In this British war film, one of the opening scenes shows what it might have been like in an attack. The scene can be found here in a YouTube video (1:57 minutes).
“And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” – Matthew 4:19, the Bible, KJV
Follow Me originates somewhere in the pre-history of humankind. Such words give inspiration and provide motivation, as well. Long ago, Jesus said, “Follow Me”2 The story about Jesus is one of leadership, the leading of people to the path of repentance and the kingdom of heaven. This is probably the oldest recorded version of Follow Me, and it is, indeed, inspiring.
Follow Me means to stand up, out in front of everyone, where you can be seen and heard. It means taking a risk. It’s about knowing what is right and rallying people to a cause. The next time you hear the phrase “follow me,” I’m sure that you will also be encouraged to do something good as well.