“Leaders who provide structure for success effortlessly attract great “dancers”–workers who are accountable, productive and hard-working.” — Misti Burmeister

If you’ve ever been to an event – a wedding, fundraiser, conference, etc. – where there was dancing, you may have noticed three types of dancers. I call them Freestylers, Groovers and Swatchers.

Freestylers are the folks who jump on the dance floor the minute music starts and bust a move. Some are fun to watch; others are just plain funny.

Groovers are a little shyer. With some encouragement, they’ll get on the dance floor and groove with the music. But they stay in their little circles, careful not to dance with too much enthusiasm, lest they embarrass themselves.

Then there are Swatchers. These talented dancers sit and watch the dance floor, patiently waiting for that song to come on so they can jump in and jam it out.

By “that song,” I mean some sort of line-dancing song – the ones everyone seems to have carefully studied on YouTube and spent hours perfecting in the safety of their homes (think Gangnam Style, Cupid Shuffle, or the Electric Slide, just to name a few).

These songs, with their structured movements, give relatively shy dancers the courage to get out there and shake their booties.

The minute one of these jams come on, Swatchers shoot to the dance floor. Groovers suddenly gain some rockin’ movement in their hips you never saw before. And the Freestylers either leave the dance floor or find a way to move with the rhythm of the Groovers and Swatchers.

When the song ends, the Swatchers quickly make their way back to their seats, the Groovers hang out for the beginning of the next song, and the Freestylers (like me) return to the dance floor with reckless abandon.

Most of us want to dance, to let the music move through us and really get into the song. Yet, most of us won’t – not in public, at least not without structure. It’s human nature to concern ourselves with what others might think of us.

This is true on the dance floor, and it’s true on the job. Leaders who provide structure for success effortlessly attract great “dancers” – workers who are accountable, productive, and hard-working, and who truly care about the success of the company.

Most leaders want their teams to dance, yet few are willing to clearly articulate what success looks like. But here’s the thing: Very few dancers are naturally freestylers. The vast majority are Swatchers. They want to succeed and are capable of success, but they don’t understand the rules.

Don’t misunderstand me. I am not suggesting you micromanage your team. Instead, help them understand what success looks like, what they’re aiming to achieve, why their contributions are important to the company’s vision and mission, and how to consistently improve their skills.

Every company dances to the beat of its own unique song. Help your team learn how to groove with you, and soon they’ll be tapping their feet faster, holding their chests higher, and dancing to the beat of your mission.

Join the Conversation: How do you provide structure so that your team can dance? And what could you do to inspire more passion and productivity in your “dancers” than ever before?

Keeping it simple,

Misti Burmeister, best-selling author of From Boomers to Bloggers: Success Strategies Across GenerationsHidden Heroes and Power Suck.

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