ILA Podcast

Courageous Followership

Maureen Metcalf Podcast Cover

with Ira Chaleff and Neil Grunberg


“He who cannot be a good follower, cannot be a good leader.”

Aristotle shared that wisdom over 2,000 years ago, but today we chafe at being labeled a follower. Yet, as Ira Chaleff and Neil Grunberg point out, if no one is following, then no one can be leading, either!

Followership is critical in any organization. Think of followership and leadership as a yin and yang: each of us needs to be good at both of them, and each of us needs to know when to play which role.  It all depends on the context. Most critically, be a courageous follower: one with the values and integrity to let your leader know when things are amiss. Enron is a classic warning about what happens when an organization doesn’t have courageous followers!

Here’s what Ira, Neil, and Maureen cover:

  • The importance of standing up to and for your leader (even at the same time);
  • How strict hierarchies distort the flow between follower and leader, slowing down the organization; and
  • Why a lack of courageous followership leads to catastrophes at work (such as Enron) and in our personal lives (such as Uvalde and other mass tragedies).

About Ira Chaleff

Ira Chaleff is an author, speaker, and innovative thinker.  He is the author of the groundbreaking work, The Courageous Follower: Standing Up to and for Our Leaders. His latest work is, Intelligent Disobedience: Doing Right When What You’re Told to Do Is Wrong. He is founder and president of Executive Coaching and Consulting Associates. As a coach, Ira provides a stimulating and safe environment for executives and their teams to examine, evaluate and significantly improve their management styles, skills and processes. Through targeted interviews, work-climate surveys, and multi-viewpoint feedback instruments, he involves all those who have a stake in the change process, analyzes their input and provides frank, constructive feedback sessions.

About Neil E. Grunberg

Neil E. Grunberg, Ph.D., is Professor of Military & Emergency Medicine, Medical & Clinical Psychology, and Neuroscience, School of Medicine, Uniformed Services University (USU); Professor, USU Graduate School of Nursing; and Director of Research & Development, USU Leader and Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) program, Bethesda, Maryland. He earned baccalaureate degrees in Medical Microbiology and Psychology from Stanford University (1975); M.A. (1977), M.Phil. (1979), and Ph.D. (1980) degrees in Physiological and Social Psychology from Columbia University; and completed doctoral training in Pharmacology at Columbia University’s College of Physicians & Surgeons. He educates physicians, psychologists, and nurses for the Armed Forces and Public Health Service and has published 200+ papers addressing behavioral medicine, drug use, stress, traumatic brain injury, and leadership. In 2015, Dr. Grunberg was selected to be a U.S. Presidential Leadership Scholar. He is a co-founder of the Healthcare Leadership Community of the International Leadership Association.

Host Maureen Metcalf

Maureen Metcalf

Maureen Metcalf, Founder and CEO of the Innovative Leadership Institute, is a highly sought-after expert in anticipating and leveraging future business trends to transform organizations. She has captured 30 years of experience in an award-winning series of books used by public, private, and academic organizations to align company-wide strategy, systems, and culture using Innovative Leadership techniques. 

Maureen shares her hard-won insights through public speaking, industry publications, interviews, and video presentations. She is a regular contributor to, host of the top international radio show, Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, and author of the award-winning Innovative Leadership book series. The series includes: Innovative Leadership FieldbookInnovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations; Innovative Leadership Workbook for Global Leaders; and Innovative Leadership for Health Care, among others.

She is a Fellow of the International Leadership Association.

About Innovating Leadership: Co-Creating Our Future

The pace of change in the world is increasing exponentially. Leadership must evolve. And that gets to the heart of our mission: To bring you the latest thoughts on leadership so you can innovate, learn, and evolve…growing your team, your business, and yourself! This series features a new interview every week. Host Maureen Metcalf interviews world leaders, global business and NPO executives, thought leaders, and researchers in a wide range of industries. It’s a breadth of perspectives unavailable anywhere else. Become an innovative leader in your own right! 

Innovating Leadership is proud to partner with the International Leadership Association on a yearly series of episodes on global leadership with special ILA speakers, members, and guests. 

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