Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Courageous Follower

I'm just starting to read Ira Chaleff's Courageous Follower: Standing Up to and For Our Leaders. As I read his five dimensions, I'm thinking, "Yeah, I've done this and it's been bloody--mostly for me." The five dimensions are:

  1. Courage to assume responsibility
  2. Courage to serve
  3. Courage to challenge
  4. Courage to participate in transformation
  5. Courage to take moral action (similar to challenge)
In later editions, Chaleff added the courage to speak to the hierarchy and the courage to listen to followers. 

Now, I have to also admit that when my staff has challenged me and suggested other moral actions than I've considered, it's been tough but necessary. Nobody needs 'yes men' on the staff. As some wags have said, "If we both agree, one of us is unnecessary." I only learn sometimes by debate, testing the parameters and the space of the issue. Sometimes it's helpful to take positions to an extreme as a way of testing the principles.

I've felt good about the people for whom I've worked that have also appreciated give-and-take in discussions. My political bruising has come from people who didn't want to have a discussion about any decisions or issues. They wanted to sell me on their decision without any input from anyone. They're definitely on the tell-sell end of the tell-sell-consult-join decision spectrum.

I hope Chaleff takes these kinds of bosses in perspective.

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