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. His latest work, Intelligent Disobedience, is now available on Amazon. 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 brings 30 years of experience and success in the fields of leadership, innovation, and technology. A regular contributor to, Metcalf has authored an award-winning book series on leadership and is the Founder & CEO of the Innovative Leadership Institute. She is the host of an Innovating Leadership, a weekly international podcast that hit the airways in July 2015. As an ILA Fellow, Maureen partners with the International Leadership Associate on a series of global leadership podcasts within the show.

About Innovating Leadership, Co-Creating Our Future

The pace of change in the world is increasing exponentially and shows no signs of slowing down. Leadership is evolving and requires more and more innovative leaders to keep up. Many leaders update what they lead but not how they think about and act as leaders. They become outdated. This matters because Leadership creates strategic advantage.

 Innovating Leadership, Co-Creating Our Future features interviews with global business executives, thought leaders and academics in a wide range of industries. They discuss their most pressing issues and the innovative approaches they have employed to transform their challenges into opportunities and advantages. The application of proven concepts and tools that may be applied to build your organization and deliver sustainable success are presented and discussed.