Follow Me:  Famous Leader Commands

By | July 21, 2020

[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.


Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

24 thoughts on “Follow Me:  Famous Leader Commands

  1. Greg Heyman

    Excellent article on a leader’s command that should be studied and followed. Those leaders who standup to be counted, share their vision, and then move out, are my kind of leaders.

  2. Eric Coda

    Of course, “follow me” is the epitome of leadership in action.

  3. Willie Shrumburger

    Gen. Satterfield, I agree with you that the phrase or idea of “follow me” originated sometime in the dark, pre-history of mankind. That in itself says something. It’s a meta-story worth telling. Maybe you could write about that sometime in the near-term to help us understand the idea better and flush it out with examples.

    1. Wendy Holmes

      Yes, and how that happens is also important, at least for me. The better we can understand the intricacies of Follow Me, the better.

      1. Mikka Solarno

        Yes, and I must agree with you Wendy. Simple but straightforward — follow me is the key to leadership in the 21st century.

  4. Linux Man

    I sure loved that movie 1917. Saw it in the theater and it made me feel like I was there. Great special effects with their cameras.

  5. Deplorable John

    Let’s not overlook, folks, the idea that “follow me” is a motivator as well as a command. Both are addressed in this article. That is why we all should be thinking about what is written and not just take it at face value.

    1. Karl J.

      Dep John, good catch. I think that motivation is a common idea. It is also simple. The issue for leaders is HOW do you capture the skills necessary to be successful? Oops, there goes that word ‘successful’ again.

      1. Wesley Brown

        “Talking about success can be tricky and full of surprises when others don’t have the same priorities or values. ” – Gen. Satterfield. Point well taken.

  6. Lady Hawk

    Well written blog posting today, Gen. Satterfield. Thanks and keep ’em coming our way.

  7. Bryan Lee

    Good Bible quote and one that is often overlooked. “… make you fishers of men.” This means, in my humble opinion, is that Jesus wanted to make his followers into leaders to help spread the gospel. Leadership was embedded into his Christian philosophy.

    1. Max Foster

      The link between Christianity and leadership cannot be overlooked. We see it elsewhere in the Bible. I’m not happy that in my church that this is never mentioned. It’s all about the “weak” inheriting the Earth type sermons. But IMO the clergy are not understanding the Bible that well and they are passing along a false narrative. This is why churches are less popular today than ever before.

    2. Walter H.

      Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. – from Hebrews 13.7 Leadership is a part of our past and it is reflected in every document produced, including religious texts as well.

  8. Valkerie

    Another excellent article for my files on “how to make leaders better.” General Satterfield, you are the best.

  9. Kenny Foster

    I still see you are using your old definition of leadership. I too prefer it. I’ve read hundreds of definitions and, of course, they are all valid but your def puts it in the fewest words with the most impact. The whole website that you have here Gen. Satterfield is based on the premise that leadership can be better if only we study the right things and do what is most responsible. Thanks for another great article.

    1. Bill Sanders, Jr.

      Always great to hear from you Kenny. Yes, Gen. Satterfield has another ‘spot on’ article, as he would say.

    2. Big Al

      Yes, and on target as others would say. The idea that leadership can be taught and that it is not inborn is a major idea that developed in the West. I will note that most people however think it’s inborn and thus nothing they can do about it. Either you have it or you don’t. Wrong!

      1. Jonathan B.

        Right, Big Al. We can learn it otherwise I would not be here reading and studying how to make my leader skills better.

  10. Army Captain

    Thank you Gen Satterfield for today’s article. Of course, I too went through Ft. Benning like you did but, I think, much later. One of the best military schools in the world. The Nation is getting a lot out of the training that goes on there and the professionals show HOW it’s done properly.

    1. The Kid 1945

      What was it that made you think it’s one of the best training grounds for our military? Is it the resources on the ground or the excellence in the trainers the US army sends there? Or is it something else?

      1. Army Captain

        Hi The Kid, I think it is a combination of efforts that have a long tradition of making sure that the maximum training effort is put into little space. Mentoring, teaching, and coaching are part of the Army’s culture. And, so it should be. The proof is in the results. Some of the best men that ever came from the USA came through Ft. Benning’s Infantry school.

    2. JT Patterson

      Good comment Army Capt and thanks for serving. The idea of “follow me” as a leader command should come to us as not surprise. I’ve heard it used elsewhere and no shock that it has been used at the small tactical level thru out history.


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