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Excellent Resource for Leadership and Managing Up
on June 1, 2013
Congratulations to Ira Chaleff for taking on a topic that virtually nobody else in popular management and leadership literature is willing to address. The very notion that leadership is any more important than followership is preposterous, but you wouldn't know that by examining where the publishing industry places all of its management focus. Much is made of the leader as the all-important, most indispensable component of a successful enterprise. But as Mr. Chaleff makes abundantly clear, leaders need followers - and good ones - as much as followers need leaders. They are both part of the same circle of communication and effort, orbiting around what is truly all-important and indispensable: the goals of the organization. How ironic, indeed, that business and management literature make so much of the leader when virtually everyone, even high-level managers, are also followers. Really, how many bosses don't have a boss of their own?
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Also great historical reference to an event featuring Joan Baez, folk singer and political activist.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.