Matt dances, he thinks badly, but watch:
So, he's doing his thing, and seems to be enjoying it, but that's about it, right? What happened to your mood as you watched the video? Did it go up a bit? Did you want to dance? Did you want to dance with Matt? Now watch this:
What's the difference? People, right? Other people wanting to dance with Matt. That's leadership. Which video had the most emotional impact on you? Which got the biggest smile?
At wherethehellismatt.com, Matt tells his story. He wanted to travel, and did. A friend suggested making a video of his bad dancing in front of places he visited. His first videos were just of him dancing, and they went on his website where friends and family could track his travels. Then he began to get emails from people all over the world who wanted to dance with him. (In the first video, there's a woman in Bangkok and a little girl in Seattle who start to dance with him -- it's contagious!) So, he went to Stride Gum with the idea of making a video with other people dancing and the second video is the result.
In his new book,Positive Leadership, Kim Cameron describes four strategies that can lead to positively deviant performance -- performance significantly and qualitatively above normal in a desired direction. The first is cultivating a positive climate -- where positive emotions predominate over negative emotions in the work environment. Barb Fredrickson's work shows that, in such an environment, people will have
- broader thought action repertoires and
- build physical, psychological, and social capital to enable future performance.
I've had a personal experience with this phenomenon. After finishing my MAPP degree, two Tennessee attorneys, Andy Branham and Candice Reed, got me started doing a series of "Lawyering and the Good Life" seminars. Shortly after that series finished, I had to hire a new Associate Director. I received a resume from a very capable individual, but one who did not have a law license -- a job requirement. I sent her an email and got back the reply that she did not have a law degree, but that she had attended one of the programs and left saying to herself that, if she ever got the chance, she would like to work with me. So, when she saw the position announcement, she just sent her resume! Now, she had seen me at my best for a short period of time, but in a setting that built positive emotions, and she came away interested in working with me. Isn't that part of the response you want from those you lead?
Leadership is a bit like getting others to dance. As a leader, are you dancing? Are others joining you?