- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers; Third edition (November 2, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1605092738
- ISBN-13: 978-1605092737
- Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 37 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #241,720 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Courageous Follower: Standing Up to and for Our Leaders Paperback – November 2, 2009
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“Paying more attention to the follower end of the equation is long overdue.”
—Vice President Al Gore
“Contains remarkable insight and practical advice that will be of enormous benefit to followers, and maybe even more benefit to leaders.”
—General Walter Ulmer, Jr., former CEO, Center for Creative Leadership
“The Courageous Follower is a godsend. Chaleff tackles business transformation with grace, and offers real‑life solutions for even the most sticky situations.”
—Independent Bookselling Today
About the Author
Ira Chaleff is the founder and president of Executive Coaching & Consulting Associates. He was recently named one of the top100 thinkers on leadership by Leadership Excellence magazine.
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Interestingly, though it would not appear to be the author's principal goal, this book underlines the importance of managing up. More importantly, it shows this through the context of achieving an organization's goals - not through the context of simply getting ahead. The author's emphasis is on making the organization, and in the process the leader, more effective. Though mainstream management literature pays little attention to them, followers are the ones who implement a leader's plan. And the plan is only successful to the extent that followers are willing to provide invaluable feedback to their leaders.
Mr. Chaleff's writing style is abundantly academic, which would seem to make his book a serious textbook candidate on the subject of followership as an integral part of leadership. On the other hand, the author provides a healthy dose of practical advice to the casual reader who simply wants - and really needs - to understand more about how to harmonize the human elements in any enterprise. Especially helpful are the questions and statements in bold throughout most chapters, which provide excellent prompts for developing healthy communication between leaders and their followers.
Also great historical reference to an event featuring Joan Baez, folk singer and political activist. Wonderful story and example of how followers step up to become leaders depending on the situation. And often save the day.
While the book contains much pithy and useful advice, such advice could be enlivened and made more compelling if it could be illustrated with more real life examples or case studies than are currently found in the book. As it stands now (3d edition), the book offers few real life illustrations of how its principles are applied by real people in real situations facing real risks.
Such real life examples may be of particular interest to readers since, under the model espoused by the book, most of the risks and burdens required for courageous followership are placed squarely on the follower. Such burdens and risks include not just the usual notion of speaking truth to power, but also taking on potential serious consequences, such as losing a promotion or even one's job due to retaliation by the "leader" for taking concrete actions to show one's objection to the leader's course of action or to "speak to the hierarchy" (e.g. going above one's immediate superior to voice a concern). Compared to such risks, the exhortation in the book aimed specifically at leaders to demonstrate the courage to listen to followers' concerns pales in significance.
Therefore, if one hopes that the courageous followership model can be applied in the real world by many rather than the rare few, advocacy of such model ought to be accompanied by advocacy of building reasonable protections for courageous behavior by followers into the structure of an organization or at least adoption of best practices for building an open and, dare we say, more democratic organizational culture. For example, in the corporate context, one might hope that the model of courageous follower can lend strength to corporate governance reforms aimed at introducing more checks and balances on the powers of the CEO and other senior leaders.
Notwithstanding the above observations, this book remains an important contribution to a field that is deserving of much more attention.
This book is a powerful and truly valuable exploration of the followership-leadership dynamic. I have a great appreciation for this work, it offers powerful principles to act on, hope for the creation of a culture of empowerment within any business or organisation and it provides tangible and real actions in the creation process.
Every business owner, employer, director and CEO... and of course employee or contractor should read this. When those responsable for doing the work that keeps a company running (the staff or teams) are empowered they become what Ira Chaleff referes to as Courageous Followers. Courageous Followers have the opportunity then to support their leaders in operating from a place of integrity and creating greatness/success.
I loved this book. It moved me deeply and answered so many questions on how to support and empower my team... and how they can take responsibility for this same journey.
Most recent customer reviews
I particularly liked the chapter about confronting leaders, Chaleff provided nice scenarios to guide the reader in...Read more