The Courageous Follower Book Summary - The Courageous Follower Book explained in key points
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The Courageous Follower summary

Ira Chaleff

Standing Up to & for Our Leaders

13 mins
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    The Courageous Follower
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    Dimension one: Assuming responsibility

    “I just wish my team would take more initiative!” This is the most common complaint Chaleff has heard from leaders in his decades-long career as an organizational consultant. And yet, for many of us working under these people, taking initiative can feel anything but welcome! 

    Even though it can be challenging, Chaleff’s first Dimension of Courageous Followership is just that: assuming responsibility

    In this context, assuming responsibility looks like courageous followers beginning by working on improving themselves. They look at their strengths and weaknesses and ask for feedback from others. Even though doing so can be a little tough emotionally, it’s a practice that ultimately helps them grow and learn valuable new skills. 

    Similarly, courageous followers manage themselves well by staying organized, meeting deadlines, and balancing their passion for their work with the risk of burning out. 

    Once courageous followers have started assuming responsibility by looking internally, they turn their attention to the outside. These individuals take more overt initiative when they see a chance to help or solve a problem within their remit. They don’t wait for someone else to tell them what they already know can be done. 

    Once a follower takes the courage to take responsibility, their proactive attitude starts to permeate their group’s values and work culture. This isn’t to say courageous followers are perennial “yes men”. As we’ll soon explore in more detail, they recognize that assuming responsibility sometimes means forcefully challenging the rules or ways of thinking, when these no longer serve the common good. 

    Greater responsibility is often perceived as undesirable, but in reality, taking it can be incredibly empowering and invigorating. Instead of waiting – or even expecting – leaders to fix things, you can start to bring about the very change you wish to see. 

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    What is The Courageous Follower about?

    The Courageous Follower (2009) is a guide on the role of followers in their relationships with leaders, which emphasizes the importance of mutual respect and the courage to stand for the greater good. It presents a model for followership that includes taking responsibility, challenging authority constructively, and participating actively in the success of the organization – transforming traditional perceptions of followership. 

    The Courageous Follower Review

    The Courageous Follower (1995) by Ira Chaleff sheds light on the importance of followership and the impact it can have on leadership. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It offers a refreshing perspective on the dynamics between leaders and followers, challenging traditional notions of hierarchy and encouraging active participation.
    • Through real-life stories and case studies, the book explores different types of followers and their unique contributions, providing a comprehensive understanding of followership.
    • With its thought-provoking insights and practical tools for effective followership, this book is far from boring, empowering readers to become courageous and impactful followers.

    Who should read The Courageous Follower?

    • Individuals interested in leadership and organizational behavior dynamics
    • Followers looking to increase their influence and constructive engagement
    • Leaders seeking to foster a culture of mutual respect

    About the Author

    Ira Chaleff is an author, speaker, and thought leader in the field of leadership dynamics, specializing in the interactions between leaders and followers. In addition to The Courageous Follower, Chaleff has authored several other books, including Intelligent Disobedience and The Art of Followership

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    The Courageous Follower FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Courageous Follower?

    The main message of The Courageous Follower is the importance of followership as a necessary and valuable role in leadership.

    How long does it take to read The Courageous Follower?

    The reading time for The Courageous Follower varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Courageous Follower a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Courageous Follower is worth reading for its insights on followership. It offers practical advice to both leaders and followers.

    Who is the author of The Courageous Follower?

    The author of The Courageous Follower is Ira Chaleff.

    How many chapters are in The Courageous Follower?

    The Courageous Follower has 10 chapters.

    1. Becoming a Courageous Follower
    2. Authenticity and Ethics
    3. Power and Courage to Historical Followers
    4. Power and Courage in Contemporary Organizations
    5. Relationships
    6. Leadership and Authority
    7. Collaboration and Teamwork
    8. Developing Followers in Leadership
    9. Followership as an Ethical Choice
    10. Creating Cultures that Encourage Courageous Followership

    How many pages are in The Courageous Follower?

    The Courageous Follower contains 224 pages.

    When was The Courageous Follower published?

    The Courageous Follower was published in 2009.

    What to read after The Courageous Follower?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Courageous Follower, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace by Gary D. Chapman & Paul E. White
    • Leadership from the Inside Out by Kevin Cashman
    • Glad We Met by Steven G. Rogelberg
    • All In by Mike Michalowicz
    • Culture Is the Way by Matt Mayberry
    • Sell Like Crazy by Sabri Suby
    • Breaking Free From Broke by George Kamel
    • Letter to the American Church by Eric Metaxas
    • Read People Like a Book by Patrick King
    • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey