A Celebration of Followership – The Book

A Celebration of Followership – The Book

A Celebration of Followership – The Book: Overview

A Celebration of Followership is a retrospective of the vital contribution of Ira Chaleff’s decades of work on courageous followership. It is also much more than that. As the narrator of the Story Told in Documents, Chaleff takes us on a journey through the emergence of followership as the integral counterpart to leadership studies. Even those familiar with the field will be impressed by the evidence of how widely the concepts of active, ethical and courageous followership have found their way into cultures as diverse as the military, the church, education, law enforcement, and many other sectors, in the United States and globally.

Filled with behind the scenes stories, and communications between leadership and followership luminaries, the book highlights important applications of followership that would otherwise be hidden from view or lost. In eye opening forensic research, Chaleff uncovers the strong focus on followership in the Kellogg Leadership Studies Project of the 1990s, the seminal program that evolved into the global International Leadership Association. He documents vigorous calls for followership to again be elevated to the level of importance it held in that ground breaking study.

The book’s conclusion shares initiatives for passing the baton to a diverse new generation of followership scholars and educators. It will serve as a rich resource for academics making the case for greater focus on followership studies, for organization development professionals weaving followership into their cultural change initiatives, and for researchers looking for targets of vital inquiry in their theses, dissertations and post-doctoral research.

A Celebration of Followership belongs on the desk of every leadership and followership educator, and in every library where researchers will find great value in the compendium of evidence it presents on the impact of new, dynamic followership concepts.

A Celebration of Followeship – The Book: Table of Contents

  • VOLUME I 1983–1993
    • THE ROAD TO FOLLOWERSHIP: Congress, the White House and the Private Sector
  • VOLUME II 1993 – 2001
    • THE COURAGEOUS FOLLOWER: The Book, the Video, and Nigerian Knockoffs
  • VOLUME III 2002–2004
    • THE COURAGEOUS FOLLOWER SECOND EDITION:A Silver Award, and Lessons for Revolutionaries
  • VOLUME IV 2005–2006
    • FOLLOWERSHIP REIMAGINED: The Conference at Claremont, The Tour of India and Interest from Educators to Ethicists
  • VOLUME V 2006–2007
    • THE ART OF FOLLOWERSHIP: Bennis and Burns: Leadership Icons Tribute to Followership
  • VOLUME VI 2008
    • FOLLOWERSHIP IN MANY LANGUAGES: The Concept Across Cultures
  • VOLUME VII 2009
    • FOLLOWERSHIP EVERYWHERE: From the Church to the Chiefs of Staff, From the Lunchroom to the Military
  • VOLUME VIII 2010–2011
    • THE COURAGEOUS FOLLOWER, THIRD EDITION: Georgetown, National Parks, Servant Leadership, and The Tragedy of the Commons
  • VOLUME IX 2012–2014
    • YEARS OF RECOGNITION: Elevating Followership at the State Department, the Naval Academy, the Federal Executive Institute, and Beyond
  • VOLUME X 2015–2016
    • INTELLIGENT DISOBEDIENCE: The Ethics of Followership: Milgram, Zimbardo, Corporate America, Asian Educators and Chinese Censors
  • VOLUME XI 2017–2020
    • TEACH THE YOUNG AND OLD: Intelligent Disobedience for Children and the Military; Training Courageous Follower Educators
    • THE INTERNATIONAL LEADERSHIP ASSOCIATION: Uncovering Its Forgotten Followership DNA
    • A FUTURE HOME: The Inseparability and Equal Importance of Leadership and Followership
    • Keynote Address, Global Followership Conference University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

© 2020 by Ira Chaleff – All rights reserved.
1st Edition January 31, 2021.
Language: English
Pages: 466

A Celebration of Followership – The Book: Introduction

TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AGO, when The Courageous Follower’s first edition was published, it is safe to say there were no university level courses that focused on followership, nor was followership part of organizational development programs. Today, a number of universities offer followership courses and most contain material on followership in their leadership curriculum. Likewise, many leadership development programs in the military, government, for profit and non-profit sectors offer followership workshops or followership modules.

The researchers, educators, practitioners, trainers and coaches who are engaged with the subject of followership are a highly motivated group that understand the power of the subject to change the way leadership is done and to improve its results. Nevertheless, when you talk with them, there is also a sense that much of the world still doesn’t know about followership or sufficiently value it. There is truth in this statement. But it is not the entire truth.

The purpose of this volume is to anecdotally document how many places in our world the subject of followership, and in particular courageous followership, has made an impact. Understanding this will bolster the commitment of the followership community for researching, teaching, and finding better ways to develop the role of the ethical follower in society, a manifestly crucial need. In that sense, this is a love letter to the followership community and an inscription on the baton I am passing to them.

A Celebration of Followership – The Book: Featured Chapter

A Celebration of Followership – Introduction to VOLUME XIIB

A Clebration of Followership – A FUTURE HOME:

The Inseparability and Equal Importance
of Leadership and Followership

IN MANY RESPECTS IT IS CHURLISH OF ME TO FAULT THE ILA for not embracing followership more fully. ILA conferences are the one place where I feel like at least a minor rock star. When I walk through the corridors with my name tag visible on its lanyard, I am continuously greeted by individuals I often don’t recognize who tell me how much they love The Courageous Follower, how they use it in their classes, sometimes how they use Intelligent Disobedience or even The Limits of Violence. This simply would not be the case without the platform the ILA has provided to disseminate the concepts of followership, and courageous followership. In this section I will examine examples of how the ILA has positively contributed and the ways it is challenged to contribute more fully to understanding the inseparability of the dynamics of leadership and followership.

Let me start with the contributions of Marc and Samantha (Sam) Hurwitz from Toronto, Canada, who have become dear friends and prominent contributors in what it is fair to call the Followership Movement. They were early participants in the ILA Followership Learning Community. Marc became its chair, succeeding Rob Koonce. They were fans of The Courageous Follower and accompanied me to a two day courageous follower training program at the massive military training center at Fort Leonard Wood, in the US heartland.

Marc and Sam wrote what is probably the most successful book on the subject since Barbara Kellerman’s 2008 book, Followership. Their book, Leadership is Half the Story: A Fresh Look at Followership, Leadership and Collaboration (12B-1), published in 2015, takes a wonderfully interactive and practical look at the dynamics of successful leader-follower collaboration. If leadership programs did nothing else but use this book, it would significantly enhance development outcomes. Having said this, I hope those programs would also use The Courageous Follower because of its complementary strength in pre-empting and correcting distortions of behavior that too often accompany a leader’s accruing power.

Marc organized a panel proposal on followership education for the 2017 ILA conference. He asked the presenters, myself included, to relate our presentations to the work of Meyer and Land on “Threshold Concepts and Troublesome Knowledge” (12B-2). I found this concept extremely relevant to followership development. In a sense, it spoke to the perennial problem of individual and organization discomfort with the term “follower”. Meyer and Land observed there were “conceptual gateways” that lead to new and previously inaccessible ways of thinking about a subject. Once the learner was helped through the gateway, they could never look at the subject again without this new, better understanding. I used this construct to explain to myself and others the gateways, or steps, that I observed in changing attitudes and developing skills in courageous follower education and training (12B-3). I went on to use this organizing framework for the programs I conducted to train courageous follower trainers. This is exemplary of the value of the followership presence at ILA conferences.

Though I had not been successful at influencing a change in the ILA’s by-laws, I had not given up on influencing its culture. The 2018 global conference was to be held in West Palm Beach, Florida (12B-4). You will see the exchange between me and Barbara Kellerman on making a hard-hitting case for greater focus on followership within the ILA (12B-5, 12B-6), I suggested she join me on a panel at the conference called: You Can’t Develop Leadership Without Followership: Challenging the ILA’s Implicit Theory of Change. Those who know Barbara will not be surprised at her response to my draft proposal: “I would suggest using more muscular language.” I got a good laugh and ramped up the language (12B-7, 12B-8, 12B-9). Barbara always draws large audiences at ILA conferences so there was little doubt this would be accepted, and it was. A Followership Learning Community principal, Angela Spranger, was to join us but family matters kept her from doing so. I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that despite the “in your face” challenge to ILA thinking, the ILA COO, Shelly Wilsey, made sure to attend to hear the case we made, which I appreciated.

Nevertheless, the status quo remained. A particularly painful evidence of this for me was the theme selected for the following year’s 2019 Global Conference: Leadership: Courage Required (12B-10). Despite the literature in which the ILA’s Founding Chair, Warren Bennis clearly states that followership requires more courage than leadership, the opportunity was missed, perhaps not even recognized, to at last include followership in a conference theme.

Eventually, the lack of greater attention to followership by the ILA was bound to have its advocates seek another venue. Marc and Sam were still active in the Followership Learning Community but had turned over its leadership to one of their colleagues from the UK, Rachel Thompson. Expressing similar frustration to their FLC predecessors, they decided to not depend on increased ILA support for followership and planned to host their own conference in the summer of 2019 in Ontario, Canada, at Waterloo University, where Marc taught (12B-11). I was concerned that, occurring so close to the ILA’s global conference that year in Ottawa, it would siphon off ILA attendees whose budget would require them to make a choice between the two events. Nevertheless, out of loyalty to the followership community, I agreed to give a keynote speech, requesting that Marc and Sam continue to encourage participants to also attend the Ottawa conference in October.

The Waterloo conference turned out to be a smash hit. It was elegantly choreographed to flow between academic and experiential activities (12B-12, 12B-13, 12B-14). The first Followership Trailblazer Award was presented to Muhsin Budiono who had traveled from Indonesia to participate in the conference. Muhsin’s adaptation of courageous followership to the Muslim culture was impressive (12B-15). Because the size of the conference fell within the limit of close social interaction for a group (around 150) it generated a great esprit de corps and palpable energy for organizing additional followership activities. The generational, ethnic and professional mix was exhilarating (12B-16). I encourage anyone contemplating scholarship or practice in the field of followership to view my keynote address that is available on my author website. I methodically lay out the arenas where followership study will be needed in the coming years. Janet Holmes, the conference graphic artist, captured many of its highlights in the whimsical chart she presented to me (12B-17). Though some participants had to forego the ILA conference, as far as I could judge, an equal number learned about the ILA and put it on their calendars for the Fall.

Once I reached my 70’s, I realized it was time to transfer what I had learned about teaching courageous followership to others, more systematically than I had done up to then. In 2017, with the help of my friend Claudia Caldeirinha, we held the first train the trainer program in Brussels, following the ILA conference (12B-18). In 2018, I conducted the second train the trainer program in West Palm Beach, prior to the ILA conference (12B-21). At the encouragement of the ILA conference director, Bridget Chisholm, I brought the Courageous Follower Train the Trainer program “in house” for its third iteration at ILA’s 2019 Global conference (12B-22). By doing this, and advertising it early enough, we well exceeded the “break even” calculations (which were solely the workshop logistical expenses, as I did this pro bono), doubled the class size, made a profit for the ILA and an impression on the ILA Board. Several members of the Board, including the Chair, made a point of remarking on the successful reports they heard.

Marc and Sam Hurwitz felt a responsibility to create a clear follow up to the successful Waterloo conference. The question was whether to again do this independently from the ILA or to find a way to collaborate. They and the new ILA followership community chair, Wendy Edmonds, asked to meet with Shelly Wilsey and the Board member responsible for education development activities, who was thought to be Kevin Lowe. We exchanged ideas on what to present and how to present it (12B-23, 12B-24). While we first discussed an “Academy of Followership” there is much stronger argument to be made for an “Academy of Leadership and Followership”. The ILA was scheduled to hold a Leadership Education Academy, which was to be a new offering. We made a pitch to reframe this as an Academy of Leadership and Followership to differentiate it from the hundreds of leadership programs available from various institutions. Being included in the Academy would be the appropriate positioning for followership within the ILA as it transcends the status of a member group. For example, one can have leadership without businesses, or without youth (another member group), but there is factually no leadership without followership.

Given the recent success of the followership train the trainer program, and the competitive threat the Waterloo followership conference represented, we had the attention of the ILA representatives in the meeting and that of the senior Board officers. But once again, we were not successful converting this to a commitment to a higher followership profile in the ILA. In the face of this, Sam and Marc were thinking about whether an independent group could be formed to serve the energy generated for followership at the Waterloo conference. The reality is that this takes significant finances and time, both always in short supply. In the end, the ILA Board was distracted by other legitimate priorities, and the Hurwitz’s decided to skip a year before investing the considerable energy it would take to mount an equally successful follow up conference, let alone a free-standing organization.

For the moment, this is the state of followership and the ILA. There will continue to be important but limited synergy within the ILA, while followership afficionados will continue to be frustrated by its subordinate status. It is my hope that before there is an intersection between the followership community’s aspirations and its resources, the ILA will recognize the virtue of keeping the leadership and followership communities under one roof with greater equity. Relatively small changes such as including “followership” in at least some conference themes (e.g. the 21st Global Conference could have been named Leadership and Followership: Courage Required, with great political currency), creating an Academy of Leadership and Followership Education within the ILA, and giving followership a stronger seat at the conference proposal table, would go a long way towards this. Virtually all scholars recognize leadership and followership are inseparable parts of the same process. Linking them in better balance would fulfill the vision of the ILA founders like Burns and Bennis, and create the robust synergies requisite to elevating the human condition, which is surely our mutual aim.

Before bringing the story to a close there are a few more developments to report at this time. In 2019, the ILA published a book in its Building Leadership Bridges series titled Peace, Reconciliation and Social Justice Leadership in the 21st Century. Then, in small print, The Role of Leaders and Followers (12B-25). When I first was asked to contribute to the project, it is my recollection that followership was in the main title, but at least “followers” found its way onto the cover. Another request to contribute to an ILA initiative soon followed. I had become active as a co-facilitator of the local branch of Coming To The Table, a nation wide group in the US committed to racial healing. I submitted a chapter from this perspective. The chapter, “Leading and Following for Transformation in a Racialized Society,” was the lead off essay (12B-26).

This year, given the sickening recurrence of unarmed Black men and women being killed by police overreacting to wrong information or minor transgressions, the country and the world have exploded in protest. The United States is undergoing a painfully overdue process of confronting and seeking to change the depth of its pervasive racial programming. In response, the ILA president, Cynthia Cherry, invited me, among others, to contribute an essay addressing these developments. I have included the article, “Racism and the Bystander,” that the ILA published in a series of reflections on the current disorder and potential for transformation (12B-27, 12B-28). It is good to see the ILA connecting directly with the issues of our times, bringing the experience of its scholars and practitioners to address them.

I had now trained three cohorts of Courageous Follower trainers. It had been my intention to form an online space for these educators and trainers to share resources and approaches for customizing materials to the needs of their classes, clients and organizations. It has taken me longer than it should have to materialize this vision. My colleagues, Alain De Sales and Dario Orlando Fernandez, worked together to design and launch the site, www.TeachingFollowersCourage.com which is now up and running. The initial online meetings of this group have been global and extremely rich. I am greatly encouraged that several of its members have recently completed, or are nearing completion, of their doctoral work on followership. A few have published their own books on followership, or have them in the pipeline for publication including Sharna Fabiano (12B-29) the inspirational instructor for the video I produced on Leading and Following Through Tango. While initially followership authors needed to lift up followership from the sea of leadership in which it was lost, current authors are also examining the dark side of followership that enables poor or destructive leadership. The future of this work is promising and it is crucially needed (12B-30, 12B-31).

And once again, another community member, Marc Hurwitz, with co-editor Rachel Thompson, is making a valuable contribution to the literature with the e-book Followership Education, part of the Wiley series New Directions for Student Leadership, for which I wrote the foreword (12B-32).

The final photo, and appropriate end of this love letter to the followership community is the landing page of TeachingFollowersCourage.com created by Dario (12B-33).

It is my hope that this group will become the core of a self-sustaining community of practice. It is too early to know how this will develop in relation to other resources such as the ILA followership member group, the Waterloo followership conference community, or other initiatives. It is my hope that there will be synergy between them and with the larger ILA community. Together, they can further develop the beachhead of followership which, through these volumes, we have seen established in many segments of society. It is this synergy that will reinforce the awareness of followership as an inseparable part of leadership development and practice at every level of free societies, and help keep them free. That is our best hope for reducing the failures and tragic misuses of leadership that we see all too often.

Followership should never be an after-thought. It is an essential element to determining the quality and character of the leadership that will emerge and prevail.

Writings referred to in Vol. XIIB

Global Followership Conference, Waterloo University, 2019 – Conference partipants

Other books by Ira Chaleff

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