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Foxtrot Leadership

Last night I took my first dance lesson.

My first challenge: the Foxtrot. My moves weren’t as pretty as the routine in this video, but my two left feet weren’t as bad as I feared.

My favorite moment came when the dance instructor told me “You’re the leader!”

No, it wasn’t my favorite moment merely because it flattered my ego (although it did). What I loved most was her ensuing insight:

“Do you know what being the leader means? It means that I shouldn’t notice you. If you’re doing your job properly, I should be celebrating the beauty and grace of your partner. You should be invisible. You’re the frame. Your partner is the picture.”

I like that lesson. I think it works for all aspects of leadership. Good leaders aren’t in the business of bringing praise to themselves. They’re in the business of helping others find what’s praiseworthy in their own hearts and minds.

If you want to lead, don’t focus on being the center of the picture. Focus on providing the frame.

Having vision isn’t the same thing as hogging the spotlight.

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