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Leadership: The “Leadership Dance”

The reader may wonder about the title of this blog and what generates it. Allow me to supply the picture of this idea. The idea of the Leadership Dance is very aligned with our trademarked concept of Organizational Maneuverability.

The “Leadership Dance”.
The “Leadership Dance”

Before I do, let me offer a quick analogy relating to flight crews and being a Captain on a multi-pilot jet aircraft. It was illustrated in an article on LinkedIn titledThe Pilot authored by Erika Armstrong. Just a couple of quotes from the article:

“The conversation between aircraft and pilot is intimate. It's just between the two of them. This deep, complex relationship began the first day their wheels released the earth together.”

She adds the pilot must have clarity:

“What is there that should not be? What is missing? What is the machine telling the pilot? Both speak to each other. Both must listen.”

The author correctly followed up with:

“Once inside the cockpit, the dance begins. The rest of the crew joins in. Laughter, conversation, a kinship based on trust, experience and knowledge.”


A couple of factors need to be realized relative to a dance. When one is dancing, realize that the music you dance to will have its own style, tempo, beat and syncopation. The dancer has no control over any of these aspects. The beat and style are what it is.

To be effective and perhaps to win the competition, the dance must perfect the moves and tempo and beat to the music. Also, realize that the style applied must be appropriate to the music. If a couple tries to perform with a very romantic and smooth performance to music that is very hard and perhaps confrontational. In this case there would not be a connection between the performance and the music......or the situational environment.

In leadership, the leader is not in control of much of the situational environment but his/her leadership must maximize results in the current situation. Several factors can affect this which are not limited to but include:

1. Your prospects and clients goals, objectives and financial situation

2. What others are saying about you either good or bad?

3. Individual personalities and capabilities of your team?

4. External factors of what your individual team members may be going through inside or outside your organization.

In a dance, success happens when the individual, couple or team demonstrates real synergy and connection with what they are doing and the music. The music and the dancers almost become one.

This does not mean that you have to let unethical factors or illegal factors drive you but it does mean that you align what you bring to the needs of the prospect and prepare and develop your team to do the same.

I offer one picture. About 20 years ago my girlfriend and I competed in West Coast Swing competitions and winning a couple. On one occasion, I got a song that I actually liked and wanted to use it in a competition and had a lady friend who was much more experienced than I listen to it and advise me. After listening to it she said that it was a fantastic song but she could only think of one lady in the entire dance community who could pull it off and make it right because the song was so powerful. The dancer and the song would not be synergistic. Let me now offer a business coaching example.

A number of years ago, there was a Lead Salesman that I knew who worked for a company in Fort Worth that did VOIP (Voice Over the Internet with Protocol). They were getting sales in Dallas but were struggling a bit in Fort Worth. I met with his Sales team, the Lead IT and the President of the company. When I asked him to demonstrate how he approached a prospect, he gave the old school self-focused approach that I expected. I coached him on how to effectively to use questions to align with the needs of the prospect. He and his President found this revolutionary.

One must align with the client/prospect’s needs as the dancer must align with the music.

I simply want to leave this concept with you. There are factors over which the leader will have no control. This equates to the music part of a “Dance”....the environment, the tempo, beat and syncopation and such. The leader must perform in the midst of factors he/she cannot control.

Then in your team, the leader must help the team tailor the techniques and help them grow to excel in this environment. The aspect of leadership can very often resemble a Dance...and to the extent the leader has clarity, will always resemble a Dance in many ways. The leader and the team must always be growing and developing. This is critical because it will adjust to every person or company that you approach.

Don’t avoid the Leadership DANCE but plan and act in a way that maximizes the results.

Win 1st place.

I simply leave this for your consideration

Randy Swaim, Coaching for Relevance, LLC


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