Hard and Soft Dance Skills

Here’s an idea. Next time you  are looking for a job, put Tango on your resume.

OK. You aren’t likely to be required - or even encouraged - to dance around the work space with a headset on, but there definitely are skills that are transferable from the dance floor to the office or warehouse.

Back in the 80’s employers started looking for a different skill-set in potential employees. Until then they had been focused on job-specific skills: technical knowledge that related directly to the tasks required. Hard skills.

They then began to discover that there were another set of skills equally relevant to a successful applicant, perhaps even more so. Those were  ...

Soft skills.

Soft skills are personality traits which enable one to get along with co-workers, to accept change, adapt to new responsibilities, and to accept direction as well as provide leadership. These include flexibility, empathy, resilience, communication skills, etiquette, respect, emotional intelligence, a positive attitude, the ability to listen and numerous other attributes that contribute to one being a valued employee.

But Tango?

Here’s the neat part. Tango requires and teaches both sets of skills, hard and soft - in spades. Certainly the technical skills are exacting, but the soft skills are equally important and challenging. Because this is a partnership dance one has to be acutely attuned to and adaptable to one’s partner’s strengths, abilities, interests, sense of timing, likes and dislikes as well as their technical skills.

The seemingly simple maneuvers included in the approach - making eye contact, smiling at your partner - are critical in establishing a mood of welcoming, acceptance and encouragement and infusing one’s dance with  warmth. Consider the core of the tango dance -  the embrace; One has to risk venturing into a close personal space with another. This requires sensitivity, openness, vulnerability, softness, and emotional responsiveness.

Character Traits

So next time you are filling out a job resume, include dancing tango on your resume and list the following personality traits: sensitive, respectful, attentive, a good listener, leader and follower, self-aware, respectful of boundaries, #metoo -proofed, creative, flexible, a good team player, all in addition to being able to pivot on a dime!   

(Unfortunately this is not relevant to completing pension applications.)