I didn’t realize this when I was growing up, but my dad was also an entrepreneur. He ran a small company that he and his business partner built over 18 years. My dad had a plaque on his desk that said, “LEAD FOLLOW OR GET OUT OF THE WAY”.
Perhaps I absorbed this through osmosis as I grew up, but I am a get s#it done (GSD) kind of guy. I have a strong drive to be productive and I am happiest when I feel that I am accomplishing something or working my way towards goals. To GSD on a team, you MUST lead follow or get out of the way.
LEAD: If no one is taking charge and something needs to happen, you have to step up and take the lead. You will find yourself more often than not in the leadership role because most people do not have a natural tendency to lead.
FOLLOW: If someone is taking charge and you believe them to be capable and competent, follow. Ask how you can help. Become that person’s enabler and help them lead even better by being the best follower you can be.
GET OUT OF THE WAY: No matter what happens, nothing will slow the team or company down faster than someone who gets in the way. People who get in the way are generally unhelpful or aren’t willing to do the work. They don’t follow up up tasks that are assigned to them. They complain about the direction the team is headed or problems that are being encountered along the way. They drag teams down, and people like this can singlehandedly make a world-class team mediocre. If you have someone on your team who won’t get out of the way, you need to address it and get them onboard or get them off the team.