In a world where digitization is in the spotlight, personal contact between people is even more important. Likewise, building reliable relationships is an indispensable prerequisite for sales success in retail and the successful management of a company or employees. For companies to remain fit for the future, the role of managers must change. Therefore, I believe that executives should dance the tango. Sure, at first glance, this seems unusual – maybe even weird. But give me a chance: I’m happy to explain how this idea was born in me.
When I started dancing tango in 2014, I realized that tango is more than just dancing. Tango is communication at the highest level. Whether this works between two people, you can feel after a few minutes: Is the leader picking up the follower properly? Are we listening to each other? Are clear impulses given and do they even reach the other person? Is the direction clearly given, or do we not know where the other person wants to go? Are limits set and can we use our freedom within the set limits? Does the leader pay attention to music, beat, rhythm and space? Suddenly it was clear to me: these are the same questions as in leading employees. They are the same parameters that are at stake every day. Are we at eye level with our counterpart? Do we treat each other with respect?
“All dancing involves a change of mental state,” noted dancer, choreographer, and dance theorist Rudolph von Laban. Most people don’t know what a mindset change feels like. This is exactly what I teach through Tango Dynamics. It is not at all about whether someone can dance or not. Tango is the means to understand how good leadership works and how it feels: how appreciation can be lived, what listening really means, and that leadership without purpose and direction does not work. Tango holds within it the possibility to experience “New Leadership” emotionally, physically, mentally, and verbally. It is about the interpersonal relationship (Relational Energy) and thus about communication skills on all levels. The basis for this is attention, empathy, respect, appreciation and listening. The resulting body language reveals at any time what we are really thinking. The body never lies!
For many, especially those people who believe they cannot dance, enrolling in the “Mindstep” seminar is the first step out of their own comfort zone. And that’s what it’s all about. I want to encourage people to show courage, to take new paths, to reflect on old patterns and habits – and to let go if necessary – and to try out new options for action. The world we live in demands constant change from us, so we need to remain flexible and keep learning new things. In most cases, women immediately have positive associations with tango. Men are more reserved in the first moment and first say: “But I can’t dance”. When it comes to concrete seminar participation, usually more men than women sign up. That surprises and pleases me again and again.
In the seminars, my focus is to combine new things with fun and to experience through many exercises that interpersonal energy can be the fuel for organizations if we use this power correctly. The participants discover that the ability to have an impact is decisive for the success of a leader today. That’s why a significant part of the seminar is about recognizing and understanding body language patterns and habits. We can achieve great things if we change our habits just a little bit and let go of old patterns. Participants also learn what appreciation really means and how much can be achieved with a “thank you”. This creates a whole new energy that drives and motivates people.
Again and again, it is surprising to me how quickly we move from the tango to the personal level in the seminars. There’s no need for a long theoretical excursion; we get straight down to working out the solutions. What I find particularly interesting is that Tango Dynamics gives concrete answers: What could I do differently to make it work and lead more successfully?
I have rarely seen a leader “fall from the sky.” Many things can be learned to lead effectively. For me, however, the basic prerequisite is that a leader is charismatic, because the ability to make an impact determines whether we can convince people to join us. And you must have a passion for people and put them at the center of your thoughts and actions. With a clear attitude, unambiguous values, openness, and the willingness to learn constantly, appreciation, respect and trust will then arise of their own accord. Managers should recognize that employee- and customer focus are key success factors for any company. Of course, this also applies to sales staff. With a passion for product and brand as well as empathy, curiosity, and openness for people, they can meet customers where they want to be met and inspire them every day.