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Tuesday, July 24, 2018

5 Hokey Pokey Leadership Tips


The Art of Leadership:
The Hokey Pokey IS What It’s All About

Spending Family Guest Week at Kanuga Conference Center in the mountains of North Carolina, I’m immersed in multigenerational activities and rituals that are a rich part of this family camp. Despite this being a vacation, I can’t stop looking through the lens of leadership as I observe and participate in the activities.

As it has been since time immemorial, one of the first evenings includes circle and square dancing to live music. All ages are encouraged to participate. Even the teenagers with piercings and multicolored hair get involved. After all, they’ve been doing these dances since they were toddlers.

Watching the kids, adolescents and adults follow the exhortations of the caller to “shake your bodies, children!” I’m aware that there are important leadership lessons in the Hokey Pokey.

Put your right hand in. Put your right hand out. Put your right hand in…and shake it all about. You do the Hokey Pokey and turn yourself around.
THAT’S WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT!

1. Start with what’s easy
Most people are right handed so it’s easy to do this simple thing and get the hang of it. It lets followers know what the pattern is and breaks the ice. Newbies can see what others are doing and even the youngest can figure out which is really the right hand…if it even matters.

Put your left hand in. Put your left hand out. Put your left hand in…and shake it all about. You do the Hokey Pokey and turn yourself around.
THAT’S WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT!

2. Repeat with a variation that keeps it simple, yet interesting
People need to see progress when learning something new. Repetition is a pathway to mastery. Yet people don’t want to get bored or feel it’s too simplistic for their “sophisticated” minds. Non-dominant hands don’t work the same way as the dominant ones. It takes more attention to learn something new. The lighter people can take themselves when learning something (rather than expecting to do it perfectly the first time, like some adults do) the faster they are likely to get it.

Put your head in. Put your head out. Put your head in…and shake it all about. You do the Hokey Pokey and turn yourself around.
THAT’S WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT!

3. Shake up your thinking, try new things…then make meaning for understanding
We all know where our heads are…and many of us live there most the time. Shaking up our thinking and opening to new ideas is key element of the art of leadership. Taking our intellectual heads out and bringing our curiosity in can encourage new perspectives and solutions. It often helps to just start doing and trying things out, before getting too involved intellectually.

In our leadership trainings, we will set a context and then have people do an activity before unpacking their experience and making meaning from the exercise. Leaders can do the same as they pose strategic questions to their teams to encourage participation and let the leader listen to gain understanding of what team members are thinking. We suggest that during inquiry, leaders wait until the end of the sharing so that they can summarize what was said, affirm important points, and add anything that’s missing.

Put your back side in. Put your back side out. Put your back side in…and shake it all about. You do the Hokey Pokey and turn yourself around.
THAT’S WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT!

4. Be willing to be hokey
A leader who is willing to take risks, admit mistakes, and poke fun of him or herself creates more space for others to do the same. A leader who is vulnerable enough to show their humanity and humility creates an environment where trust can flourish. And with trust, teams can work faster and perform better. When team members feel safe enough to admit and learn from mistakes, everyone can relax, get work done…and even have fun!

Put your whole self in. Put your whole self out. Put your whole self in…and shake it all about. You do the Hokey Pokey and turn yourself around.
THAT’S WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT!

5. Play at 100%
Followers don’t just listen to leaders…they watch their actions. If leaders want change…in behaviors, actions, results…they must demonstrate what that looks like through pictures, storytelling and most of all, modeling what’s expected. This doesn’t mean always coming in early, leaving late and working over weekends. It means having a balanced life, respectful relationships, mentoring others, and giving people opportunities to shine with their unique talents. True leaders invest time in building people’s competence and confidence so that individuals and teams can work autonomously, collaborate effectively, and achieve desired results so that they all feel like winners.


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