Leadership Lessons From The Recital
As a dad, I was pretty lucky a few weekends ago with being able to watch my kids perform in the annual recital from their dance school, Terpsichore in Monroe, NY. My girls have been dancing for almost a decade, and I’ve been to just as many dance recitals. To be honest, as a father, short of watching my kids, I initially felt like this was the last place I wanted to be. Though as I’ve grown to appreciate the work and the effort that goes into these productions, I am actually surprised that the correlation in leadership between this and business hasn’t actually jumped out at me before.
Four Leadership Lessons jumped out at me from the recital, Structure and Organization, Practice Not Perfect, Misstep and Mistakes and Not Losing Sight of Goals.
Structure and Organization
From two years olds to twenty years olds, or even some adults, the girls dance in a variety of different ways from ballet to tap, and jazz to hip hop, but the teachers have created a framework for them to work within, and to learn from. One of the key items here is the fact that a dance recital has a much structure associated with it as a corporate business event. It has a degree of organization associated with how things are going to get accomplished, and from a leadership lesson, those are one of the things that we need to make sure that we’re creating as leaders in the environments that we work in by allowing a structure for our employees to be able to work or our families to be able to grow, we allow for the overall success of what we’re looking for them to accomplish.
Practice, Not Perfect
As the toddlers walked out onto the stage, and made mistakes, some stood in place, some twirled when they weren’t supposed to. Some just waved emphatically at their parents. One thing I saw was that they were practiced without the agony of making sure that they were perfect. In other words, these younger children are learning the core structures of repetitive actions bringing them a positive outcome. Okay, so the toddlers weren’t perfect. Then you go into the next group. The five, six, seven, eight year olds, who are more structured, who are more practiced, and perform even better. As they get older, as you look at the children growing into teenagers and young adults, you start to see where that additional practice with that additional time and effort that’s spent is paying off, by the solidness of the performance that’s given.
Missteps and Mistakes
Throughout this, I used the term Practice Not Perfect. They are practiced, but they haven’t lost sight of the next function that I want to talk about, which is that mistakes are okay, but how they are handled are important. As dancers, they’re out performing in front of a group or a crowd, and the important lesson that’s learned here is when they make a misstep, they continue. They continue to move forward. It’s so important for these young children to understand that they can make mistakes, but they are practicing for something that’s much larger, but in the end, they’re allowed to make a misstep and just continue, and move on.
Not Losing Sight of Their Goals
The kids, themselves, are there to perform at the end of the dance year to show what they’ve learned, and throughout the course of this, they’re not losing sight of that goal, but they’re still having fun in that process. In other words, the teachers have done a solid job of leading the children down a path towards the goal, they had an end in mind for that toddler, that teenager to perform this dance routine and that dance function (ok, I admit, I’m not techincal), but throughout the course of this, the children weren’t made to make it look and feel like work. The teachers, the leaders, showed these youngsters how to do and perform these actions repetitively, so that at the end, they have something beautiful to show the parents.
Now I will say that throughout the course of this, I was also very happy from the introduction of the group where they played a variety of different sports and rock themes, right through the performances where this year everything from Metallica to Phil Collins to Pink Floyd were used as part of the performance art. Not that there’s a problem with classical pieces being used, but in the end, what ends up happening is that the kids are shown a variety of different musical tastes, and aren’t necessarily constrained to it being a genre, but instead they’re able to perform just based on something fun, something energetic.
I want to thank the fine teachers for their leadership, teaching my children and creating something amazing. Thank you so much.
Let me know how this affects you. Leave a comment and I’ll be happy to hear about your challenges AND your success.