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Customer reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
37
The Courageous Follower: Standing Up to and for Our Leaders
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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Also great historical reference to an event featuring Joan Baez, folk singer and political activist.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.
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on February 14, 2014
All accross America people are becoming or have already become frustrated with our elected officials at the national, state, and local levels of government. Furthermore this frustration continues with executive leadership in both the public and private sector, and even front-line supervisors and lower level managers. No organization is expempt from the appearant frustration caused by fomal leaders operating through intimidation, withholding of information, or misdirection. Don't get me wrong, there are still some great leaders; people who truly embrace the concept that leadership is a process and not a title. Ira Chaleff articulates the reason why everyone in America needs to be "The Courageous Follower". Each of us have choices to make on a day-to-day and sometimes on a minute-to-minute basis whether or not we want to follow. This is identified as engaged followership and applies to everyone equally. The best advice given in, "The Courageous Follower" is that at some point in everyone's life we reach crossroads and must look inside ourselves to beckon, "The Courage to Leave," an organization.

Dr. Terry E. Pittman
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on October 25, 2014
It's all about choosing... to do the right thing even if it is not popular... being willing to take a stand- helping your senior leaders navigate through perilous situations where your vantage point affords better visibility. It is the antithesis of "carefully saying what you think the boss wants to hear" (the playing it safe approach.) Risky? Yes. But giving a voice to your conscience and following your moral compass is always a better long term choice.
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on June 9, 2017
This book contains many really good ideas to get ahead in almost any work environment. As soon as I finished reading my copy, I started immediately putting the ideas to work. It is still to early to be sure but I am starting to see positive feedback already at this stage. It is extremely difficult to become a good leader if you don't first know how to be a great follower.
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on April 18, 2016
Read this book in grad school and became a huge fan. I use it now as the basis of a class period that I teach on leadership/followership in a freshman seminar course. Outside of this book, I have never seen any other book on following. It has changed the way that I view leadership.
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on May 25, 2010
This book provides valuable building blocks for the important but still evolving model of followership.

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.
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on October 9, 2017
my hard copy was lost in the mail, this download saved my life
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on September 22, 2017
Love it; I recommend it for anyone in leadership
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on July 21, 2009
Wow! A brilliant book that gives strength to the people who make up our business.

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.
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on May 21, 2016
This book was great, I read it for a class in leadership.
I particularly liked the chapter about confronting leaders, Chaleff provided nice scenarios to guide the reader in the process.
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