Those of you who know us know one of our passions is ballroom dancing—so it makes sense we would use dance as metaphor to help leaders strengthen their ability to engage employees and bring joy to the workplace.
In one of our favorite scenes from the iconic movie Singin’ in the Rain, Gene Kelly is wearing a colorful jacket, singing “Gotta Dance!”—symbolizing the joyful exuberance of “hoofers” regardless of the price they pay with sprained ankles, pulled muscles, beleaguered knees, and sweaty practices! No matter what, dancers have gotta dance!
So what does this have to do with leadership and employee engagement? Everything! According to the research, “… employee engagement is the raw material of morale” (Scarlett, Ken (2010) “Quality Employee Engagement Measurement” Pages 108-122 as featured in “The New HR Analytics” by Dr. Jac Fitz-enz).
Try adopting the Gotta Dance attitude in your workplace. What values are so strong that you can’t not live them? What goals are so important that failure is not an option? People who are truly committed to defined values and goals possess this Gotta Dance attitude. Regardless of challenges, tight deadlines, unrealistic goals, and interpersonal roadblocks, these Gotta Dance-centered people keep their collective eyes on the goal. They constantly remind themselves and others that we Gotta Dance through business and through life if we want to enjoy the journey.
What Can You Do?
Here are three tips to help you create a Gotta Dance attitude in your workplace, and transform your employees into engaged, committed performers:
- Perform a reality check on yourself first. Are you finding joy in what you are doing? What attitude are you bringing to the workplace? How are you handling the roadblocks, unexpected surprises, and challenges of each day? Do you enjoy interacting with your employees, colleagues, and customers? Take a personal inventory, and be sure you are bringing your Gotta Dance attitude to work.
- Let your employees know that you care about them. People will do incredible things when they feel valued. Make time to really know your employees. If you need research to convince you, here it is: Project teams with encouraging managers performed 31% better than teams whose managers were less positive and less open with praise. (Greenberg, M.H., and D. arakawa, “Optimistic managers and their influence on productivity and employee engagement in a technology organization, “ As cited in Robinson, J., ‘The business effects of positive leadership, Gallup Management Journal, May 10, 2007).
- Get excited! Enthusiasm and commitment are contagious. If your folks see you getting excited about the department’s goals, they will get excited as well. If you don’t like the attitudes of your people, start by looking in the mirror! Be sure you are leading from a place of authenticity, integrity, and commitment.
As you adopt a Gotta Dance attitude, you will see a transformation in the workplace! And here’s the keeper: