Dr. Bettina Palazzo

Business Ethics and CSR

When I started to dance salsa a few years ago, I realized that you can only dance well if you are led well. The leader in dancing, typically the man, decides what figure the couple will perform next and the follower, usually the woman, follows the movement and makes it possible.

In order to make the dance fun, the leader needs to adapt to the capacities of the follower and make her shine. If the leader does not adapt to the skill level of the woman and is trying to show off how great a dancer HE is, there will be no flow in the dance and both partners will leave the dancefloor frustrated. Likewise, if the leader makes it too easy for the woman and does not challenge her level of capabilities, the woman will feel underestimated and bored. So depending on who leads her, the same woman can feel like a total failure or like a dancing queen.

This is similar to what is happening in teaching: The teacher is in the lead, yes, but she cannot just deliver her contents and do her own show. Teaching, like dancing, is a conversation, an exchange that helps both partners learn, develop and create something new together. This process of mutual learning is only possible if the teacher has a good understanding of the students’ capacities and knows how to challenge them without asking too much or underestimating them.

Shall we dance?