#194 – The Dance of Leadership

Continuing our leaders and followers theme of the past few weeks, an apt metaphor is partner social dance, where collaborative leading and following are integral to the success of the activity. In classic partner dancing, the leader initiates the movement, pace, and direction, and the follower responds. Partner ice-dancing is another dance form, albeit with a multiplied velocity and risk factor. Dance happens to be one of my life-long passions, and I had the pleasure of spending a recent afternoon at a workshop given by a leader in the contemporary conscious dance movement, Wren LaFeet, of Portland, Oregon.

Food for Thought ~

To my mind, partner dance is an illustration of the dynamic interplay between leader and follower roles; both are necessary. In the new social dance movement being transformed by artists and teachers like Wren, the roles are called “lead” and “follow,” purposefully using non-gender-related terminology. In this new form, partners take turns leading and following in a dynamic exchange, listening and communicating, exploring new forms and patterns. (Hmmm…that sounds like what’s going on in our progressive workplaces.) I appreciated Wren’s insight that good leadership is an invitation for active followership. Leading provides opportunities for people to create, to collaborate, to dance, to soar. To be a truly good leader means knowing how to be a good follower. It also means creating opportunities for people to contribute.

Question for the day ~

Do you identify with being a “lead” or a “follow,” or are you adept at both?

A Footnote ~

For those of you who might be interested in learning more about this type of dance form, here’s a link to a video of Wren doing a TEDx talk and dance demo. His website is www.nomaddance.com.