Croakers Square

Trying to find ways to develop team work can be difficult when looking at the same stale ideas. Moving past the ropes course and trust fall exercises can sometimes require creativity. If you’re looking for a new way to strengthen your team while having some laughs, grab some clogs and get ready to make some squares.

How can square dancing transform your team from individuals into a well-oiled machine?

Dancers are part of a team.

Unlike other forms of dancing that is done in pairs or as an individual, square dancing involves groups of eight. Four couples make up a ‘square’ that performs the steps of the dance together. These eight dancers become the dance team that all work together to complete the square dance.

Employees often feel as though they are working on their own island, disconnected from what everyone else is doing. The process of engaging with the rest of the team helps the employee feel connected, gives a sense of purpose to their work and encourages greater productivity.

In a recent interview, Monica Eaton-Cardone said, “I don’t believe the climb to the top needs to be lonely. It is a team effort that is fueled by dedication and comradeship.” Eaton-Cardone is the COO of Chargebacks911 and uses unique strategies to encourage teamwork in the workplace.

Dancers must depend on others.

Within the steps of the dance, each couple, each individual, must depend on the others within their square to complete their steps and be in the right place at the right time. When one person misses their cue, the entire square suffers, and chances are good someone’s toes are getting stepped on.

Understanding that not only do team members need to depend on others, but they, too, are being depended on is an important lesson in team building. Being in the right place at the right time, helping others who may be confused and listening to direction can all be excellent lessons on how to depend on the people one works with.

Dancers are part of the grander dance.

In typical square dances, each square acts independently of the other squares. There are occasions that may require the squares to crossover with other squares, but primarily, each square is dancing in sync with the other squares. For the observer, it is an impressive feat of choreography to observe groups of eight all dancing in unison.

In the workplace, there can be separate departments that appear to be distinct from each other, but actually are all working together towards a common goal. Team members must understand that while each department can be successful independently, it is only as a part of the larger corporation there is true success.

Dancers must take direction from the caller.

On the square dance floor, there is only one voice that matters: the caller. The caller provides direction and guides the dancers through the various steps and styles of dances. Despite what steps the dancers may want to take, they must follow the leading of the caller if the dance is to be correct. If each dancer in a square were to head off to various parts of the dance floor to dance to the ‘beat of their own drum’, the finely tuned square dance would grind to a halt.

The workplace team is no different. While the individual employees may have their own ideas of how and why things should be done, they must work together and follow the leading of the manager to achieve success. There is a time and place for individual creativity and decision making, but primarily a team can only be effective when they are listening to one voice. When team members ‘go rogue’, the team suffers and is unable to operate with the same degree of success. By following the leader, the team is working toward the same goal and is more likely to reach it.

Finding new ways to motivate employees to act as a team can be frustrating. For your next corporate event, consider breaking out some fiddle music and kick up your heels in a square dance. It may be just the step your employees need to take in order to dance their way to success.

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