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As the leader, are you the picture or the frame?

The picture or the frame?

When you think about organisational success, what kind of leader are you? Are you the picture or the frame?

I learned of this analogy from our Salsa teacher. Yes, confession: I had Salsa lessons both in New Zealand and in Melbourne, no trolling or memes please… I actually really enjoyed it. Our instructor was explaining the role of the male partner in Latin Dance. I was told to ‘lead’, which, in my usual banter style, I tried to use to my advantage with my dance partner and wife Liddy. I was quickly put right by the teacher (and by Liddy). As a male ‘lead’, the ONLY job I had was to make the female dancer look amazing.

I have thought often about this concept, and how applicable this is in organisational or team leadership. As the leader, are you the picture or the frame? As a leader, your most important role is to ensure you create an environment and circumstances where your team is successful. The moment you think it is about you, you’ll lose the engagement of your team, and with that their ideas, creativity, and discretionary effort. At that moment, all hope is lost that your business will be ‘amazing’.

Be the frame as a leader and make your team the amazing picture.

Picture credit – ABC/Getty Images

About the author: Geerten Lengkeek is the Managing Director of Productivity People