Sunday, March 23, 2008


One of the strangest types in the workplace is the chairwarmer; often amiable personalities whose sole goal in an office is to hold it.

We wait upon chairwarmers with the expectation that any day now, they will take some sort of substantive action but that moment never arrives. They will speak, promise, analyze, and cajole and yet all of that is mere running in place. Their only action is to give the appearance of action.

A chairwarmer can serve - if that is the term - years in an office and produce not a single accomplishment beyond the rearrangement of papers. I used to think that there was some subtle form of servant leadership at play. I hoped that they wanted, through their sloth, to encourage and develop others who, after a period of extreme frustration, would step forward to get something, anything, done.

That gives them too much credit. I've now concluded that most of these characters simply want a title.

They would be pathetic but for the harm that they do. They do, however, remind us of the old slogan: Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way.

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