Hey, guess what? The whole “Left Brained vs. Right Brained” idea has been disproven by neuroscience. I know, it’s shocking that science has debunked a popular social media quiz. It IS true that some people are more analytical and some people are more artistic (just look at the people you work with), but the sides of the brain used apparently have little to do with it.
A recent study shows that while specific functions do reside in certain regions of the brain, it takes the whole brain working together to complete the action. In other words, the analytical and creative parts of the brain work together equally to solve an algebraic equation or to paint a pastel landscape. So much for there being “Left Brained” or “Right Brained” people.
I can’t help but wonder what the implications of this are for leadership. It seems that much of the literature on leadership development is listed in what we might have formerly called “Left Brained Lingo” — 10 steps, 7 habits, 21 laws, and so forth. While it is indeed helpful to know the steps, we need the whole brain to succeed in leadership.
What does a “whole brained” approach to leadership look like? I think it looks like a dance. Looking at leadership as a dance takes the logical, chronological steps and blends them with creative and timely movement. True leadership rarely shows up through strict execution of steps and formulas. True leadership is revealed in those awkward moments when a rigid process just doesn’t take in to account the mess and beauty of the people and circumstances we encounter.
A talented artist and friend of mine recently wrote to me, “Anyone can learn 5 steps to whatever, but it takes a leader to make it a beautiful dance!” (Kathleen Self, www.colorbrush.com)
Upon reading this I asked the following question on my personal Facebook page, “What turns a bunch of footsteps into a beautiful dance?” Some of the responses were: The heart behind the footsteps, feeling the music, the tune, rhythm, design, intent, creativity, and imagination. This adds some interesting thoughts to the idea that leadership is a dance.
I confess that since I grew up in a conservative Christian home almost all of my knowledge about dancing has come from watching “Dancing with the Stars”, one year serving as a high school cheerleader, and from watching my preschool daughters’ ballet class. Although my dancing credentials are not as impressive as, say, Julianne Hough, I have come to realize that learning the steps is only a part of the performance. Interpretation, timing, posture, attitude, and even humility as you let another dancer have the solo and attention, all turn a bunch of steps into a beautiful dance.
QUESTION: How else is leadership a dance? Please comment below.
If you’d like to learn more about me and coaching for leaders and teams then I invite you to visit my website, kick off your shoes, and stay a while. I’d serve you cookies if I could, but you’ll just have to use your awesome imagination… www.coachamydevries.com