The final meditation on followership from Ira Chaleff's book "The Courageous Follower" is: Courage always exists in the present. What can I do today? I am convinced that if more people would assume responsibility for asking themselves each and every day "what can I do today to make a difference?" that our organizations would experience radical transformation.
Most of your peers are playing it safe. They don't want to stand up, stand out, and risk rejection or challenge. They are content with doing just enough to get by, and by their own behavior our leaders encourage the perpetuation of this pattern.
We can do better, and because we can, we should. Without courage, this is all just rhetoric. Courage has to start today, and it has to start with you.
- When are YOU going to see yourself as a steward of your group and share responsibility for it's success?
- When are YOU going to adhere to the highest values you can envision?
- When are YOU going to stop blaming others and assume responsibility for learning from your failures?
- When are YOU going to relate on a peer basis to the group's formal leaders?
- When are YOU going to become a master of your assigned responsibilities?
- When are YOU going to go forward with things you are willing to do to improve your job?
- When are YOU going to take on more responsibility to help your purposeful leader?
- When are YOU going to speak up and defend the actions of your purposeful leader when others are only willing to complain?
- When are YOU going to talk to your leader about her abusive behavior?
- When are YOU going to talk to your leader's reporting official about the abusive behavior you have tried to help her change?
- When are YOU going to let others help you confront your own abuses of power?
- When are YOU going to leave a bad job for the right reasons?
No organization can empower you - only you can empower yourself. But you have to have the courage to give yourself permission to do something your peers are not willing to do. If you don't find that courage today, in the little things, you will never have the courage when things get really challenging.
You have a lot more power than you think. People are watching you. They want to know who you are, what your intentions are toward them, what you are going to stand for today. Someday your peers may grant you the privilege to lead them, and when that time comes you need to be ready to serve them with distinction. Even if that day never comes for you, you need to practice courage today so that you can be even better prepared to serve your colleagues that do assume the leadership role.
Leaders need remarkable followers much more than followers need a remarkable leader.