Ep 164 Transcript - Dr. Chelsea Pierotti

Ep 164 Transcript

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Dr. Chelsea: Training new dance team leaders can be a challenging and time-consuming process, but it's important. What if you could get your captains to own their role right from the start? That's why I created Journey to Elite Captain. Whether they have an official title or are just the leaders of your team, it's the only course that will turn your dancers into leaders without the drama while teaching them how to navigate confrontation, how to communicate effectively, and I guarantee you'll feel the weight coming off your shoulders right away. If you're ready to get started, visit www.chelseapierotti.com/leaders to learn more.

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Welcome to Passion for Dance. I'm your host, Dr. Chelsea, and I want to talk about our dancers' commitment. I'm hearing coaches and studio owners tell me every day how commitment levels are different. Dancers don't seem as committed as they used to. Then you add the need to have leadership on our teams, either formal or not, and if most of your senior-level dancers aren't committed, now what do you do?

In this episode, I'm going to share the idea of a Commitment Continuum. It's not either committed or not. There are actually six levels of commitment, and understanding where your dancers fall on that continuum helps you improve their commitment to your program, and if you do choose leadership, they better be from those top two levels of commitment. So here's the Commitment Continuum and how you can use it to get more from your dancers. 


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Hi, I'm Dr. Chelsea, a former professional dancer and mental performance coach. I know what it feels like to be a passionate dance teacher who cares about your dancers, but you want to challenge them and help them be their best, and I also recognize that some traditions and teaching practices in the dance world are harmful. So I'm on a mission to change our dance industry by creating happier, more successful dancers using positive mental skills.

When you understand how to help your dancers with their confidence, how to find their own motivation, work together as a team and more, your dancers will unlock new levels of competitive success and happiness. And it's not just about them; you deserve the same. So we'll talk about how dance teachers can use positive mental skills to be more confident, resilient, and motivated as well.

Be sure to hit “subscribe” wherever you listen to podcasts. There are new episodes every Thursday, and each week you'll hear from me and my guests with advice and actionable tips for building mental toughness, covering topics about mindset, motivation, resilience, and building a community. Passion for Dance is a show designed to help dance educators like you have a positive impact on every dancer you teach.

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The Commitment Continuum – 2:42

The Commitment Continuum is the idea that there are various levels of commitment to anything. It's not just that you are committed or not. There are varying degrees of commitment in sport, and once you understand where you fall, or where your dancers fall, you can work to move up.

I see a lot of conflict and frustration on teams because one person thinks they are committed, but their teammates think they're not, and it's usually not that either/or. It's that they’re somewhere else on the continuum. One's a little further along than another, but it causes stress.

This Commitment Continuum comes from the work of Jeff Janssen, who has wonderful work on sport leadership and culture. So there's also a visual that goes with this too, and I've added it to my website for this episode, www.chelseapierotti.com/164. So you can take a look at that. If you're visual, you can see a picture of this continuum.

So the whole idea is that if you are aware of where you are on the continuum, you can move up to be the most committed you can possibly be. And again, this is really important when you consider leadership. If you name formal leaders, they better be in those top two tiers, or else their lackluster commitment will infiltrate the entire team. So let's walk through these six levels of commitment.

Picture drawing a horizontal line across the page. I'm gonna start on the far left with the lowest level and I'll move right as we move up in commitment.

First Level of Commitment: Resistant – 4:05

The first level is resistant. These are dancers who actually resist being led. They complain about the coach or other leaders. They actively push back. These dancers will certainly destroy any culture you're trying to build by complaining about coaches or teachers or choreographers, and being so resistant to leadership makes it really hard to learn. If they spend the whole jazz class with a resistant attitude, they won't hear your corrections or give a hundred percent effort, so there's little to no growth, which of course they place blame back on the teacher. So that lowest level is resistant. They actually resist being led.

Second Level of Commitment: Reluctant – 4:45

Second is reluctant. These dancers don't buy into the common goal of the group. They have more of a wait-and-see attitude. So while they may not actively speak out against the team, they certainly aren't contributing either. If the team has decided they value strong work ethic, the reluctant dancer will wait and see if everyone else actually does it before putting in the work themselves.

You can imagine if you have a lot of reluctant dancers, or especially a reluctant leader, no one steps up. No one gets the ball rolling, and you have a team of reluctant dancers that can look really lazy because no one's willing to get started. Everybody's waiting to see if anybody else is going to do it first.

Third Level of Commitment: Existent – 5:28

The third level is existent. These dancers are there physically. They show up to class, they practice every time, but that's it. They physically show up and go through the motions, but they're not mentally present and ready to learn and work for it. I've seen lots of dancers like this. It feels very, like, “blah.” They're just going through the motions. They may be dancing full out actually, but their energy is passive and bored and certainly not helping boost morale for the rest of the team or having any fun.

These dancers, again, are doing the work. They might even say, “I'm doing everything I'm supposed to,” but that's not enough. Just existing is not the commitment we're after. Again, when you consider leadership, a dancer who just exists and does the work isn't enough. They're not going to help push the team forward or work through challenges.

Any leader who is in these lower levels of commitment (either resistant, reluctant, or existent) is also the leader who's probably entitled. They don't actually put in the work, or they may even actively complain to the rest of the team, often having those conversations behind the coach's back. These leaders at the lower levels will destroy your culture, so always be wary of any leader who's actively resistant, reluctant, or just existing.

When we move into the top three on the Commitment Continuum, we're more in the Committed Zone, where they aren't hurting culture so much anymore, and their level of commitment could have a positive contribution.

Fourth Level of Commitment: Compliant – 6:58

So the fourth level is compliant. These dancers do as they're told, act as obedient little soldiers. They always do what's asked of them, they work for it, but the kicker is they still need other people to motivate them. They still need teachers or leaders to fuel their fire and their desire to work hard. So being compliant is helpful for sure. We're moving in the right direction.

A team of mostly compliant dancers would be okay. Everyone shows up, puts in the work, and isn't actively tearing anyone down. But that's also not enough because you need leaders from the top two levels to actually motivate the group. If your leaders are compliant, your season and your skill levels, your talent, your routines that year will stay status quo. Dancers will comply with the rules, do things as they've always done, but you won't see any growth in that passion for excellence that you're probably looking for. The true goal is to get every dancer to these top two levels, but especially your leadership.

Fifth Level of Commitment: Committed – 7:56

So level five is committed. To be truly committed, a dancer is self-motivated and goes the extra mile. They not only show up and put in the effort, but they actively seek out extra feedback. They work on their own to review choreography or help a teammate. That's true commitment, self-motivated athletes.

Sixth Level of Commitment: Compelled – 8:16

And the final level six of the Commitment Continuum is compelled. These athletes are also self-motivated and they will do whatever it takes. They care so deeply for the mission of the program that they won't rest until it's done and are willing to hold everyone accountable, especially themselves.

Now, Jeff Janssen's original theory warns that being compelled has a negative twin of obsession. When a compelled athlete can lose perspective, they become obsessed, which may not be great. But generally, compelled athletes will have a positive driving force on the team. It's not just about their own level of commitment. They will actually raise the level of intensity and commitment from everyone else.

Now, you realistically won't have a team of all committed and compelled athletes. That's certainly the ideal, and you should work for it because it's possible. That is the goal. And especially when you consider leadership, any formal leaders should definitely be from those top two tiers of committed or compelled, or they'll never help anyone else move up the continuum. So if you're trying to get a lot of your dancers to move up, if you recognize some resistant or reluctant dancers, you need the committed or compelled leaders to help everybody move up.

Download The Roadmap for Choosing the Right Captain – 9:33

So I want to pause here and share another free resource. If you coach a dance team, if you're considering formal leadership, choosing the right leaders can make or break your season. So if you'd like a little more guidance on choosing the right leaders and a great process you can follow, download The Roadmap for Choosing the Right Captains at chelseapierotti.com/roadmap. That link is in the show notes as well wherever you're listening. But if you want more help choosing the right people, check out The Roadmap for Choosing the Right Captains at www.chelseapierotti.com/roadmap.

So along with some other important factors, choosing leaders who are either committed or compelled is essential to creating a team of motivated dancers. So when you're considering leadership, ask your potential leaders these few important questions:

  • Where do you see yourself on this continuum?
  • Where do you think teammates would rate you?
  • Where would coach rate you?
  • (And maybe most importantly) Where do you want to be?

If a potential leader isn't at one of those top levels, and sometimes they aren't when they're younger or new to leadership, but they have a desire to step into the role as they gain seniority, awareness is the first step to moving up to true commitment.

So have a genuine conversation with potential leaders, and assess their level of self-awareness and their perception of the team to see if they're truly ready to be that motivational leader. And this continuum is a great conversation for the whole team. So remember, if you're looking for a team of truly committed dancers, use this continuum to have a conversation about what commitment really means. Existing isn't enough. And when you consider leaders on your team, watch their behaviors to look for those who are more committed or even compelled. Look for their passion. Look for the dancers who are resilient, self-motivated, and genuinely enjoy the hard work it takes to be successful. You want leaders who are not just compliant but ready to go the extra mile.

And again, if you need more guidance on how to choose a good captain, you can download that free roadmap at www.chelseapierotti.com/roadmap. Click the link in the show notes if you need help with that.

A team of truly committed dancers is possible, but it probably won't happen without some intentional conversations and setting clear expectations for the level of commitment you're looking for. I hope this Commitment Continuum gives you a solid foundation to start that conversation.

And if you ever have any questions, you can always leave a quick voice note at www.chelseapierotti.com/message. I'm always here to help. So thank you for being a part of this community and being a passionate dance teacher. Keep sharing your passion for dance with the world!


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Thank you for listening to Passion for Dance! You can find all episode resources at www.chelseapierotti.com/podcast, and be sure to follow me on Instagram for more high-performance tips at @dr.chelsea.pierotti. This podcast is for passionate dance teachers and coaches who are ready to change the dance industry by creating happier, more successful dancers. I'm Dr. Chelsea and keep sharing your passion for dance with the world.

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