Being a leader requires a plan and the courage to act on that plan be it in life or on the dance floor. Recently I had the opportunity to discuss this with a student from the Arthur Murray Dance Center of Bloomfield, Brian Passon. Thanks again Brian for taking the time to talk.
Todd: "So Brian, how’d you get started in dancing and how long you’ve been dancing?"
Brian: "My wife, Jessie, and I have been dancing with Arthur Murray in Bloomfield for nearly 4 years. It started out as an outing I planned with some couples from our church as a way to get them outside their comfort zones. Jessie and I ended up signing up for a few lessons figuring it would be good for us as a date night. Not only did we learn to dance, it turned out to be a great form of counseling and communication for us, especially since we have very different personalities and have been married for nearly 16 years."
Images left to right: Brian and one of his Bloomfield Instructors at Team Match at January Showcase 2017, Brian and his wife Jessie dressed up for the spirit competition at Team Match, Brian and his wife Jessie competing at January Showcase 2016.
Todd: "I noticed you are an awesome dancer (said with a playful tone), I would have thought you’d been dancing for at least 10 years and that you clearly help Jessie look good on the dance floor. Tell me a little bit about what you do outside the studio?"
Brian: "My graduate degree is in Sports Psychology and I work with organizations, executives and professionals to help them achieve optimal performance and create healthier workplaces. I also do a lot of speaking and delivering keynote addresses, leading workshops and teaching."
Todd: "So since you work with leaders and businesses all over the US I’m sure you get to see a lot of different styles of business and leadership?"
Brian: "Yes, each organization I work with has their own unique style--kind of like different types and styles of dance, there’s also a lot of different leadership styles. One thing I do know is that, whether born or made, all leaders need time practicing their leadership skills."
Todd: "How can a leader practice their leadership skills when they are not in the workplace?"
Brian: "Dance is a perfect opportunity for leaders to hone their skills in real time. Typically leadership roles require that a person cast a vision, implement processes, build strategies and then wait and wait and wait to see if the actions match the desired vision. Leadership is often about intention and action and aligning those two things overtime. Dance fits into this equation nicely and with faster results!"
Todd: "That’s an interesting perspective. Tell me more about intention and action?"
Brian: "Intention is like your vision and action is like your game plan. In dealing with businesses you cast your vision and it may take weeks months or years to see whether or not the actions parlay into success. In dance, when you lead, your intentions and actions are immediately reacted to and you can see whether or not your intent and your actions are aligning. Whether or not your follower (i.e. dance partner) reacts appropriately is a combination of your intention and actions aligning. Not only that, as a lead, you get the chance to show your intentions and see whether or not your follow picks up your intention and their actions follow yours. And it all happens real-time, no waiting necessary. As a leader in dance, as in business or life, you also have to understand your partner’s capabilities and be willing to meet them at their level and challenge them at the same time."
Todd: "So what advice do you have for leaders…whether they are leading in dance or in organizations?"
Brian: "I think that, in business or in life…It’s easier to trust a leader who can dance.Are you looking to be a better leader? Consider practicing your leadership skills by taking some dance lessons. You can learn how to be a better leader through dance! Get quick feedback where your intentions and actions play out in real time. It has been said “never trust a leader who can't dance”…now you understand why. Those leaders who can dance have honed their skills not just in their ability to cut a rug, but in their ability to be in tune with matching intentions and actions."
Whether you need to learn some leadership skills for life, business or for just on the dance floor, contact your local Arthur Murray Dance Center today to get some real time practice in leading!