Engaging the Issue (Getting on the Dance Floor)

… a core concept in Leadership Skills and Atlas 109

DanceFloorConcept description

This concept (effective practice) deals with the need to engage with an issue to better diagnose the opportunities and challenges at hand.

Ron Heifetz and Marty Linsky (reference below) use the image of a dance floor and a balcony to describe different perspectives, and recommend moving “back and forth from the balcony to the dance floor, over and over again throughout the days, weeks, months, and years.”

Heifetz and Linsky were writing primarily for those already on dance floor, practitioners in leadership positions who are heavily engaged in their work, and recommend techniques for moving to the balcony. See Taking a Detached (Balcony) Perspective.

However most students about to start their careers face the opposite challenge. They have spent many years studying matters from a detached perspective and now have to learn how to get off the balcony and onto the dance floor. Once one becomes engaged in a problem that involves other people and institutions new ideas, perspectives, and potential solutions emerge that are much less likely to occur to the detached observer.

For some, this may be related to the challenge of Overcoming Procrastination.


Ronald Heifetz and Marty Linsky (2002), A Survival Guide for Leaders, Harvard Business Review, June 2002, at Wikipedia, at https://hbr.org/2002/06/a-survival-guide-for-leaders/ar/1, accessed 6 March 2016.

Atlas topic and subject

Diagnosing (core topic) in Leadership Skills.

Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified on 6 March 2016.

Image: Cliparts.co, Image 3551958, at http://cliparts.co/clipart/3551958, accessed 6 March 2016.