Yes! If you want to become a better leader, you should be(come) a dancer.
I’ve said it before: leadership and dancing have more in common that you may think. When you are a dancer, there are some powerful lessons you can draw that will help you in business as well.
Lead and motivate people
When you dance, as a leader (usually the man), you need to lead your dance partner. You need to let her know what she needs to do: does she need to turn right or left? Does she need to turn once, twice, more? Does she need to slow down or speed up? Without a clear guidance, your dance partner will not know where to go or what to do. When you are the woman (and in that case you are not the one leading) you can still lead your partner. This is especially true if you dance with a beginner and you are already at a higher level. By making some subtle suggestions or providing some advice, you can provide guidance to this new dancer. When we do that, we are not trying to take over from them, but we are influencing them through encouragement.
In business, your role as a leader is to lead your team members. Having a vision of what you’d like your business to become is like knowing what type of dance you want to do. Your team members need to do what you want them to do in order to achieve a certain goal. If you do not lead them in the direction you want, some people will go their way, which may end up being completely the opposite of what you want them to do. For that, you need to communicate with them regularly, encourage them and guide them so that they know they are on the right track. When you lead people, encourage them and guide them, you’ll be able to achieve your goals and hopefully have fun in the process, just like with dancing,
Everybody is different
Whenever you are in the office or on the dance floor, remember that everybody is different, You therefore have to adapt yourself to your counterpart. Is your team member new? Then you will need to guide him/her more, give them some time to practice, provide them with some tools or tips so that they can learn their job better and quicker. If your team members have been in your team for quite some time, they already know your style of leadership. They will know how to approach you, communicate with you or ask you questions. Same with your clients, suppliers, etc. Just like with your team members, you need to adapt yourself to them and need to be able to manage change.
When you dance salsa (or any other partner dance), you will often dance with different people. Some have been dancing for years while some others are just starting. Some dancers will dance cuban salsa, while some others will dance puerto rican salsa. No matter who you’re dealing with, make sure you observe, listen (or feel in case of dancing) so that you can adapt yourself to the person in front of you. The last thing you want is for someone to feel lost or completely disconnected because you have not been willing to adapt yourself to his/her level.
Any relationship is based on trust. Whether you want to get clients, lead a team or dance with someone, you need to start building the relationship so that the other person trusts you.
In business, you need to lead by example, say what you’ll do and do as you said. For a relationship to be successful, you have to be trustworthy so that people know that they rely on you if they ask you to deliver something or if there is a challenge or an issue.
When you dance with someone, the man needs to trust that the woman will follow what he wants her to do. The woman needs to trust the man that if he wants her to do a certain figure, he will not break her arm or leg! Dancers build on each other’s strengths, they rely on each other, and they need to be able to trust each other to perform.
There are many other similarities between dancing and leadership, and I had already shared some others in a previous article. That is why I help people Succeed in the Adventures of Leadership and Self Assurance (SALSA ?? )
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