too many chiefs and not enough Indians

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too many chiefs and not enough Indians pl (plural only)

  1. Too many leaders or managers and not enough people doing actual, useful work.
    • 1970 Oct. 24, Frank Lynn, "Goldberg ‘Kennedy Men’ Give State Party Rare Unity," New York Times (retrieved 15 July 2017):
      [V]eterans attribute a lack of money and the consequent need to rely heavily on volunteers in scheduling and the poor advance work for the candidate's appearances. Some Democratic politicians have described the problem as a case of “too many chiefs and not enough Indians.”
    • 2004 April 14, Janet Street-Porter, "Dazed and confused by modern life," Independent (UK) (retrieved 15 July 2017):
      Marks & Spencer's . . . top-heavy management has so much in common with the BBC, too many chiefs and not enough indians.


See also[edit]