Today, I spoke with a client who had attended my Performance Management workshop last week. The seminar asks participants to describe the attributes, behaviours, and characteristics of a “team at its best” and then proceeds to derive the ways in which that team can be created using new approaches to acknowledgement, dealing with problems, reviewing individual performance (so that it’s a celebration rather than a report card), and planning goals in an uncertain business environment. Judging from some of the feedback I received, the participants found the workshop both very valuable and very engaging.
The very first exercise in the workshop is to ask each person in turn who they are at their best. What impressed my client – indeed, why she chose to become my client – is what I did with their responses. Each person “fumbled around,” as my client described it, explaining a circumstance as a parent, community member, manager, part of a crisis team, or whatever. I listened deeply for a core truth about who that person is that the story exemplified. I played back the acknowledgement of that particular aspect of the person after each story—and watched each of them beam with pride. Calling out what each individual was most proud of created an instant connection with a room full of total strangers – at least strangers to me – and set the tone for a wonderful day together.
If you’ve been dancing for any time at all, and have been working on technique, connection, musicality, form, styling, or even just your smile while dancing with a partner, you may have experienced the type of acknowledgement that comes from your partner reflecting back to you the positives that you have given to them. Feels great, doesn’t it? The appreciation inherent in a sincere acknowledgement creates an amazing feeling, a joy that is a large part of why dancing has so many benefits for wellbeing.
This small observation now gives an inspiration and an invitation to each of us. The next time you find yourself on the social dance floor, take a moment to catch your partner doing something right. I know it is all too common to tell the partner about the mistake they just made, or why they’ve just done the studio pattern wrong, or to “correct” a move in the middle of social dancing (just don’t, okay?). But when you tell them how much they’ve improved, how nice a particular move or styling element was, how you really enjoy their flow or connection, or musicality, or whatnot, you then have a partner whose evening you’ve made. Like the participants in my workshop, you create instant positive connection, and set the tone for a great social. And the beauty of acknowledging your partner for something that exemplifies them as a dancer is that it provides a two-for-one benefit: You each get a hit of positive, happiness-inducing neuro-hormones (dopamine for them, serotonin for you, and a splash of oxytocin for each). And that makes a better evening for both of you, when we…
See you on the dance floor.