Last night I talked to a group of friends after a dance party ‘- we often catch up as a nearby restaurant and talk after these events. For a while we talked about different people we had danced with and what it was like to lead and follow. The ancient topic of what was a good management came up. During this conversation, the question of the use of the word “strong” came up.
You may not know this, but men and women often use the word “strong” in a different way.
For men, the word basically means to have strength. He is a strong person who has strength and can apply it. That’s why you might be here a female dance teacher saying “give me a strong lead” and then shortly after hearing her say “do not squeeze my hand so much.” The man hears the word “strong” and assumes that more power is needed.
For women, the word is very contextual. It can be strong colors. There may be strong words. There may be strong personalities. There may also be physically strong people. Of course, there can be strong clues as well.
What do women mean when they say “strong leadership”?
In this context, we can be guided by signal detection theory. Signal detection theory is about how clear a signal is in relation to distortions of the signals. If someone is talking to you and there is a lot of noise around, the signal is relatively weak. On the other hand, if the noise is less or the voice is raised, the signal becomes stronger.
A strong lead is clear in that it can be detected and clear in intent.
The signal from a line will be weak if the associated movement is small compared to the other dance movements. The signal about a line also becomes weak if the line itself is unsure of what he really wants.
To have a strong lead, first know what you want to achieve. Second, make sure your lead is clear in relation to other movements. This can mean clear power. But it can also simply mean clear movement. It can also mean that you need to reduce the random movements and forces that you inadvertently apply when you dance.
You can imagine how a lead that only moves when it’s time to signal a lead would be seen as a strong lead. There is no indecision with this person, they know where they are going and how they will get there. It is a strong leadership.
If you are learning to lead, then work on being like this. If you teach someone to lead, make sure you explain the use of the word “strong” when leading.