Home Thinking Aloud How Dancing Tango Improves Teamwork

How Dancing Tango Improves Teamwork

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by Anita Flejter, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Ultimate Tango

There’s a reason why tech companies, particularly startups, should take notice of music and dance trends. There are many valuable lessons to be learned from how these arts affect global audiences.

As companies look to modernize their approach to employee wellness, it’s no coincidence that many businesses, like Unilever and Barclays, are exploring dancing´s socializing aspects to improve team performance.

Dancing is an easy way to improve your mood, productivity, problem-solving capabilities, and physical health. Imagine how it could encourage teamwork, build stronger employee engagement, and breed creative ideas at a startup or larger business wanting to be better at what they do.

This is how implementing virtual and in-person Tango solutions can bring people closer together.

Assess Whether Tango Would Be a Good Fit At Your Company

The principles that allow Tango to function as an improvised dance – the intimate non-verbal communication and leader/follower principles – are skills that can be translated to the workspace through corporate dance classes.

The CEO of PaxCap even incorporated Tango dancing into his recruitment strategy. He made 10 diverse and promising financial leaders take a Tango lesson and, based on how they behaved, that’s who he put forward.

But before implementing Tango like this, evaluate how your company functions overall. Does everyone have a separate task and do individual work?  If so, you don’t necessarily need your employees to communicate effectively or read each other’s body language. However, suppose your team has to be tightly bound together and work side-by-side every day. Then, Tango can help them master improvisation and spontaneity to tackle any problems when they arise.

Having said that, any type of business could adopt Tango in the workspace. Take traditional banking, where a hierarchical structure is often present. If a Tango class was offered, everyone would suddenly become equal and vulnerable, breaking down barriers and leading to effective teamwork.

Startups are the perfect fit: They are constantly changing, fast-moving, and redeveloping. Tango can teach startup entrepreneurs and employees to develop a structured way to move from task to task as strict codes and etiquette famously characterize the dance. Plus, a form of numerical thinking is needed to make judgments about rotation and velocity. This can help startup entrepreneurs map out their business plans and lead teams effectively.

Improve Leadership

Tango is not an advocate of ‘one-way’ communication. Whether on the dance floor or at a company, leaders can’t do everything for their followers – micromanagement doesn’t work in the workplace nor at a Milonga. If you suppress and guide a follower too much, they can’t express themselves and bring their best dance moves (or ideas) to the table.

In Tango, everything is based on continuous feedback from both partners. The leader must send over the necessary information to the follower, the follower needs to confirm that the information is received, and, based on that feedback, the leader moves to the planned direction or modifies it accordingly. It’s like the relationship between a CEO and their colleagues: A follower must understand what is proposed to carry out the work accurately.

In Tango’s close embrace, the follower may be in the appropriate position to tell a leader that there’s a chair in the way or another dance partner. The leader has to listen to what followers are proposing, independent of who the partner is or in which department they work. Tango doesn’t tolerate arrogance or rudeness.

Enhance Communication Skills

Tango represents life; learning, struggles, relationships, work, and so much more. Besides its penchant for feelings of absence and nostalgia that attracts those seeking deep connections, it forces you to be in the present moment.

Maybe you have a life plan or career progression mapped out, but the reality of what happens is often so different. This is why Tango resonates with many across the world as it teaches people the ability to be flexible and embrace uncertainty.

For example, perhaps you have a great startup idea and fall in love with it. This is dangerous as it is harder to restructure if the product or service doesn’t receive traction. You have to adapt. In Tango, perhaps you wanted to do a volcada, but your partner doesn’t want to or doesn’t know how – you have to change your mind and move on quickly.

Oftentimes, teams actively compete against each other due to commission-based schemes or bonus structures. Tango builds a sensitivity towards human behavior and your colleagues, which means you can start to read people better, and that’s conducive to reduced employee turnover.

Anyone who wants to become an effective leader or run a successful business can learn plenty from Tango. The phrase “it takes two to Tango” when applied to leadership means: both leader and the follower are responsible for the outcome of any situation. Tango helps leaders build trust, learn to pay attention to verbal and non-verbal signals, and give clear directions when setting goals.

 

Anita Flejter is the CMO and Co-Founder of Ultimate Tango School of Dance, where Argentine Tango is taught not as a dance but as a philosophy of life. Anita is an entrepreneurial-minded individual who is highly skilled in marketing, project management, graphic design, painting and other artistic endeavors.