It’s me again, and as stated Monday, I used to be a dance dad. I spent the week-ends watching my daughter dance – for many years. Yes, she did really well, but what struck me last week were the parallels I saw between competitive dance and authentic leadership. Monday I suggested two of those lessons and below I’m suggesting two more. The competitive dance year starts with a school kick-off where the season is described in terms of outcomes for the dancers – I wanted to point out some leadership “maxims” I’ve been pondering for the last few weeks.
Leaders refuse to let their teams fly by the seat of their pants.
Ask any dance mom, or dad, how much time is spent watching routines as compared to waiting for practice to end, or driving in the family car. In our school punctuality was ingrained into the dancers psyche. My daughter refused to be late for dance, or her performance. If the school rule was to arrive two hours ahead of time for a competitive performance, two hours it was! It provided time to prepare, time to get dressed and time for one last walk through.
The leadership formula — if there is such a thing — is preparedness. You must carefully prepare to reach success both mentally and technically. This is one of the reasons for planning. However, I prefer to think in terms of mapping an informal success guide. Look at what others have done to be successful and imitate. Once you have a proven formula reuse it. Many times I have sadly seen opportunities lost because of cockiness. Whether you have done the presentation once or one hundred times – prepare. People will notice and you will do your best.
Leaders never forget who contributed to their success
The master of ceremony often asked the assembled dancers on the stage at the end of a long week-end to turn, face the audience, and applaud. While they did, she asked them to remember who drove them, paid their fees and waited all week-end in anticipation of them doing well. Happy to do it – but doing it. There was not a parent in that audience who did not appreciate someone pointing out what we would do in a heartbeat.
Keep in mind that, if you’re a leader, your team’s morale starts with you. It’s up to you to be a good role model for your team. If your own morale is suffering, then it’s vital that you work on rebuilding your own outlook and attitude first. Start by identifying why your own morale is low, and then come up with ways to adjust your mental attitude. Often, this starts with action. For instance, perhaps your morale is down because your boss is pressuring you to do a good job. You can make yourself feel more positive and in control of the situation by getting organized, and by achieving measurable goals that will put your boss at ease. Remember, your team is always watching you: if you’re feeling positive and confident, they will too. Quick wins will also help build confidence – for you, and your team. And never forget to recognize those who contributed to your success!
What is good leadership? Leading from a willingness to see those around you do well, and taking satisfaction in there success!