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A Ballet Lesson for Leaders

Leaders are like ballet dancers on a different looking stage.

Both are delicate arts of high performance

Both require continuous adjustment

Both are a balancing act daily

Both require internal work

Both are powerful

I recently went to a ballet class - just for fun - and my mind started playing a wild game of ‘connecting the dots’. I invite you to play along with me. It’s fun.

Do you know how a ballet class goes?


The purpose of the morning class is to warm up. Get the blood flowing. A ballet class is an intricate sequence of exercises that build on top of each other. Separate yet woven together. Elegant and constant. Each movement is intentional in order to prepare the body (and the mind) for bigger moves, partnering and ultimately for the moments of absolute high performance - the stage.

In great leadership

- just like in life itself -

nothing stays still.

There’s warm up - constant movement - within the leader and in the outside world. Stopping movement gives a false sense of stability. Extraordinary leadership is built on agility and constant, consistent evolution towards higher levels of performance. Without sacrificing the health of the body, the mind or the spirit.


Dancers also stretch a lot. It is absolutely essential in keeping the body in balance and muscles working at their optimal level. To avoid injuries. This happens in between, and sometimes within, the dance combinations. Throughout the class and rehearsals.

Flexibility in leadership means




This is a skill that goes beyond just performing tasks. It is built into daily life - a habit and a routine. A part of who you are as a human being - as a leader.




Build flexibility and improve results and outcomes beyond the bottom line. Beyond a quarterly report.

Flexibility builds resilience.

Extraordinary leadership is built on resilience.


The ballet company is together. All doing the moves. Together. By themselves. They depend on each other to deliver a masterful outcome and unforgettable moments.

For their audience

For the company

For themselves

In class or on stage you don’t have to actually see the person behind you to know that they are with you. You KNOW they are with you. All moving to the same music, yet unique in their expression of the same move.

How does this translate into leadership?

A leader exists because there are people that follow. Other people. Other humans.





Henry Ford said “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”

That’s the principle. Everyone on board. Together.

The leader leads. Everyone is responsible for warming up their own bodies and minds. Working on their stretching. Keeping themselves warm and flexible. Every individual trusts (knows) that the others are there. Doing their parts - individually together.

So, let’s start with plié … are you ready to dance?

Have a joyful month full of movement. Keep warm.

Paula Naeff


The only way to grow is to take action.

Step into the glorious unknown.

Take on the adventure.

Are you ready to explore?

Paula is a transformative Leadership and Performance Coach and professional speaker. She is a business leader, mother, pilates instructor, dancer and former clown. In her unique approach she challenges her clients to discover and listen to their innate wisdom and build a toolbox for growth through stories. Her superpower is listening, sprinkled with joy. By using this superpower Paula inspires her clients and audiences to let insights and transformation take place. The results are incredible personal and business growth.


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