The Dance of Leadership


Leadership starts within, it starts with clarity, focus and the discipline to lead oneself. However, the nature of being a leader is that leadership moves beyond the individual and extends to followers. Partnership dance is a highly effective experiential lesson in leadership because it requires an interaction between leader and follower with immediate feedback. This interaction of self and follower – this feedback loop demands and allows immediate adjustments, literally step by step.

Once initial leadership/partnership skills are established, dance quickly introduces more sophisticated leadership tools to advance. It becomes obvious that leadership is not about patterns or rote formulas. In fact, learning to lead through use of memorized formulas does not develop the critical thinking skills or civility which are essential as one’s leadership sphere expands.

As Seth Godin’s 2009 book Tribes suggested on emerging trends in leadership, we see the once-dominant vertical styles of leadership and management moving to technology-empowered horizontal leadership models. “A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea. For millions of years, human beings have been part of one tribe or another. A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate.” ― Seth Godin, Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us.

In today’s changing world, finding or creating practical tools to facilitate improved leadership skills is necessary. Whether on the dance floor or off, the characteristics of dance convey that picture in a beautiful juxtaposition of movement and flow.