Leadership Lessons from the dancing man

This is a great video which uses a guy dancing at a music festival who is joined by more and more people to discuss leadership. The commentary provides some interesting insights and creates a useful parable based on the video. It suggests that while leaders are important, the first people to join in also play a crucial role.

In community engagement we often need to create a critical mass to make projects successful and this video provides some things to think about.

Of course it isn’t quite as easy as this video suggests. The footage (which goes for 2:58 minutes) is the end bit of a longer episode. The following video that goes for 7:36 which provides a different view of the same episode.

Before the “first” follower joined in there were six people who had joined in or chatted to the lone dancer. One of them even danced with him for over 1.5 minutes and chatted to him without anybody else joining in.

These original people also paved the way for the “first” follower to join in. It also reminds us that often community engagement strategies don’t succeed at first and we need perseverance when engaging the community.

The extra footage shows that the “leader” was doing some things that scared followers away at first, and demonstrates that it helps to create a safe environment so that people felt safe joining in.

It’s also worth noting that this is happening outside the fenced off official area. Sometimes (often?) movements start outside the mainstream. Unless we take notice of the marginalised and excluded, we can often miss a great deal.

If you liked this post you might want to subscribe to the blog (top right-hand corner of the blog),  and you might like to look at:

  1. Ron Finley: A guerilla gardener in South Central LA
  2. What is asset-based community-driven development (ABCD)?
  3. What is Appreciative Inquiry?
  4. Community leadership: A tale of two residential parks
  5. Ernesto Sirolli: Want to help someone? Shut up and listen!

About Graeme Stuart

Lecturer (Family Action Centre, Newcastle Uni), blogger (Sustaining Community), environmentalist, Alternatives to Violence Project facilitator, father. Passionate about families, community development, peace & sustainability.
This entry was posted in Working with communities and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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