In his song “Long Live the Chief” the artist Jidenna delivers wise words:

“You can either lead, follow, or get out the way.”

These words apply perfectly to office dynamics.

In every corporate situation there are leaders, followers, and people who get in the way. Whether in a meeting or during a daily task, I advise teammates to decide which category we fall under. If we’re leading, we need to lead. If we’re following, we must do everything in our power to follow in the most efficient manner possible. If neither is the case, we’re just a distraction.

Lack of adherence to these principles explains why 80%+ of office meetings are a waste of time…Almost always, meetings involve too many people. A meeting should be called only when a leader must communicate face-to-face followers. A meeting should not be an area of deliberation or discussion. Such meetings open the floodgates for neutral parties: people who are neither leaders nor followers, i.e., people who want to be heard, but have nothing to say.

For the sake of organizational health, we must recognize the players who are getting in the way of organizational dynamics. Corporate culture depends upon it. Most importantly, leaders at all levels should recognize who is leading, who is following, and who is in the way. Those who are in the way should be encouraged to find an area where their efforts apply to the category of leadership or followership.


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