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Spot The Leader

We are playing “Spot the Leader.”

Everyone stands in a circle.

One person leaves the room.

The group chooses a leader.

The leader starts a physical motion, and everyone in the circle mimics that motion.

A seasoned team using smooth, flowing motions can make it difficult to figure out who is actually in charge. The physical motions grow organically. Members of the team feed off each other, and it looks like everyone creates the motion together.

Our particular team is not so seasoned. In the first few rounds, participants spot the leader easily. Now it is my turn.

“Sam is the leader.”

I point to the other side of the circle.

Sam shakes his head. “Nope,” he says.

“But I saw you change the motion of…”

He shrugs. “I’m not the leader.”

I walk around the circle again. I catch Shelly in a new move. “Aha!” I point at her triumphantly.

She shakes her head. “Nope. Not me.”

In frustration I point to Karen. She shakes her head.

I stop for a minute. Nobody moves. Who is the leader? “How can I figure out the leader if no one is moving?” I see the instructor standing across the room, and I finally get it. That makes sense. “You’re the leader,” I say to him.

Curtis smiles. “You’re getting close,” he says. “I’m not the leader, but you’re on the right track.”

Now I’m really confused. I plant my feet and stare at the team. It does not make any sense. Who is the leader? In my frustration, I absentmindedly cross my arms and start scratching my left wrist with my right hand.

I had never known that I scratch my wrist when I am thinking. I do know that as I look up, I realize that everyone in the circle has crossed their arms and is scratching their left wrist with their right hand.

A chill runs down my spine.

“Oh,” I say softly. “I’m the leader.”


Can you spot the leader in your organization?

It may not be who you think it is.

Is it you?

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