Every morning my wife, Cari, and I take our dog, Julio Iglesias, for a walk. (Yes, that's his real name). We hold hands, chat about the previous day, and about the day ahead. From time to time, we stop and let Julio do his business. At some point during our walk, the game begins. While holding her hand, I'll just stop all of a sudden and see if she'll stop with me. I'll move and she'll move. My focus is to see if I could lead her, and see if she'll respond to me. Most of the time, we do it to see if we can stay connected and practice our craft. Other times, it's because we need to get out of the way of someone walking by, or quickly cross the street. Nevertheless, the art of lead and follow is taking place.
Sometimes, it takes years to get on the same page with your partner. Sometimes, only weeks. Regardless, we know how important it is to lead and follow. Whether, you're a couple or single, home or business, we all have a relationship with someone. It's the rhythm of life. Relationship with our pets, friends, family, and loved ones. It's important to understand that art of leading. Here are some tips to ensure that the next time you lead, someone will be following you.
"He who thinks he leads, but has no followers, is merely taking a walk."- John Maxwell
1. Have a Good Frame
The Frame, is how we hold ourselves. It sets the boundary for the partnership. If you want your partner to follow you, they have to know the rules of the game. They need a starting point, and the frame gives them just that. Otherwise, it would be chaos as everyone has to fend for themselves. To have a good frame, send your hands forward in front of you like Frankenstein. Then, take your elbows out to assume dance position. Always leave your hands and elbows in front of your body and still, so that it doesn't move when your partner gets into frame with you. They'll know where you stand the next time you dance with them. Literally).
2. Have a Good Connection
The Connection, is how we hold our partner. It's the non verbal communication between you and your partner and their response when you lead. In dance, the connection can't be too soft, otherwise they'll have a tough time following and do their own thing. Now who's leading who? We can't be too hard, because then we create a battle within the partnership. It must be like baby bear from Goldilocks, juuust right. To have a good connection, simply hug your partner. Give them a hug like you would an old friend or family member. While staying in the hug, start to pull away from each other until you get into a dance frame. All while keeping the tension and connection within the frame. You'll notice that the frame should feel like you've got a good hold of your partner. Next, practice moving in different directions and see if they stay with you. If they do, you know you've got the right amount of connection.
3. Have Good Movement
Movement is how we move our bodies from one direction to the other. This focuses on where we're going. Much like a car ride. If you're the driver and don't know where you're going, your passenger will soon get frustrated and eventually take over assuming the role of leader. As a result you have a backseat driver and backseat drivers are the worst (in dancing). To avoid a backseat driver in your dance partnership, all you have to do is have the GPS on. You have to know where you're going. Here's the rule: Wherever you go, GO THERE! Don't apologize for it. Just make it happen. So many times as leaders, we're worried about how our partner is going to feel which is sweet. However, most followers would enjoy being lead and not want to be checked on every moment. The next time you dance, try dancing your patterns as if your partner weren't there. You'll find that your lead will strengthen and your partner will enjoy a better ride.
In the end, leading is a two way street. As the Leader focuses on Frame, Connection and Movement, they must also constantly listen to their partner and respond. A leader checks to make sure that the passenger is enjoying the ride, but overall staying in the driver's seat. It's never perfect. There are accidents along the way, but good leaders don't focus on that. They focus on the task at hand and won't stop until they reach their goal. At the end of the dance, they look for another chance to do it again, until every partner is lead.