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What do Star Leadership and Tango Have in Common?

Star Leadership

Is leadership a science, or an art? Of course, it needs technical expertise and calculative skills. But there is an overlap between science and art in being able to create larger things spontaneously. Leadership is akin to the art form of dancing, where you respond to the beats and move swiftly and decisively. It may seem like a far stretch, but at the end of this article, you will be convinced.

One example of this is Zomato1. This strong giant of a food aggregation and delivery was about two IIT students bonding over a common problem: the inconvenience of a crowd of people trying to look at the menu together. So they went back home and made a website with the menus of the canteen and several other food joints available for whoever wanted to browse through. When they realized what a goldmine they had struck upon, they added a third member who made it into a downloadable app and then business started booming. 

The way that the story of Zomato unfolds is much like how the dance of tango unfolds. It’s about coming together, responding to the twists and turns of music in harmony, and being spontaneously creative for deeper impact.

The Satisfaction and Build-up of Harmony

Performing tango starts out with partners syncing smaller steps and then proceeding to more complex moves. They are aware of how to move together, and how they need to come together at the same time, all in all, being on the same page. It’s the same when you’re a leader. You have to always be in harmony with your team. You have to pay attention to what your employees want and need and bring people to the same page on what to do. Just like a pair of Tango dancers, build a comfort level with your team, work as a unit, and you will start tackling big obstacles and coming over larger challenges in no time at all!

The Bonds Formed over Performing Together

If you don’t enjoy what you do, what’s the point? You may like to lead, or you may like to follow someone else’s lead; but, just like in dance, in business too, the endgame is to be able to relish what you do! Whether you are a Tango dancer, or a business leader – the only way to completely appreciate everything is to find familiarity and act together. It’s a rare and wonderful thing to be able to find a common understanding and do well together. A research study2 was done on teams and factors predicting follow of industry standards and project cost performance. The number one theme that came out (in 71% of respondents) was the sense of belongingness to a team and identifying with it. To quote some direct comments: “being part of the project is a rush” and “led to synergy-more gets done better”

The Inspiration of Creativity and Novelty

Even the things that we love to do, seem to get a little boring after a while. Dancing with the same partner for so long, working with the same people for years – it does take a toll on creativity. After a while, it also becomes a little bit of a challenge to keep your dance partner interested in you, or to keep up the enthusiasm of your team. And so star leaders just like tango champions find commonality to bring in freshness. They shake up the routine and try new things. Similarly, how do you manage to be dynamic as a leader, almost all the time? The answer is, by understanding what is common and then always trying to improvise, taking calculated risks, and learning new things together to further enhance the relationship.

Impact on Leadership

What exactly makes tango, or any dance in fact, appealing and aesthetic in the first place? Obviously, it’s that somehow they move together in coordination, play around each other and somehow look great as a unit working together. That’s because their steps and moves have certain intentionality to them. If they moved amazingly on their own but their directions contrasted with each other they would bang into each other and fall. 

When David Bennet came to a large medical company as a new recruit leading an older team3, he succeeded in boosting sales and reshaping the team into a high-performing one. The method to this was aligning everyone with a common focus: a direction that everyone agrees to and works together towards. Even though he was new, people were yet to trust each other and work together; By projecting a clear vision of where he wanted to move and how he wanted to move he enlisted the help of his team and they danced their merry way to high sales and revenue. 

Solution Mindset

The biggest problem with designing a system for people is that we forget the human factor. It’s unpredictable and has erratic motivations but when utilized properly gives an ROI much larger than buying any share. To direct this complex group of individuals, a leader has to attune the mindset of strong relationships. Star leaders have to take interest in what their people enjoy, what they would really like to do, and what they are good at doing. 

A research study done on Nigerian bank managers4 revealed that the more a team acted together based on common values, the more effective they were. According to how “effectiveness” was defined, they were more profitable, productive, and had a larger market share!

3 Immediately Applicable Steps 

  1. Approach each team member one-on-one at regular intervals and tell them about situations you are currently dealing with. This makes you seem more relatable and helps both parties share what’s on their mind. 
  2. Find ways to connect over familiar topics and get to really know your stakeholders beyond work
  3. Circulate a list where each team member adds one item that they think should be a core value for the team. At the end of it, tell people to assign percentages to each core value such that the total comes up to 100. Aggregate this data and share it, you are bound to find some interesting insights. 


The Tango is about partners knowing each other, being aware of each other’s movements and styles to knowing how to overlap and express themselves together. When you pay attention to each other, leadership coaching services help you to understand each other, want to work together and make something wonderful out of that capacity.  #BeAStar

#Focus #RelationshipMindset #Commonality