There is a management exercise where two people face each other. One leads with arm movements only and the other follows in mimic. The challenge is for the parties to decide how can they synchronise well enough for it to be impossible to tell who the leader is and who the follower?
The message is clarity and consistency.
Clear, consistent patterns can be easily learnt and even predicted. Erratic movements are difficult to anticipate and follow. If the leader adopts an obvious and consistent pattern of arm movements it becomes relatively easy for the follower to understand, learn and then copy it accurately. If the pattern is relatively simple, this process can take very little time and it becomes impossible for one party to be distinguished from the other.
This represents and interesting analogy for effective management.
Complex, inconsistent or erratic management makes it difficult for staff to understand what is required and when or indeed to predict requirements before requested.
The exercise also showed that when the pattern had been learned the ‘follower’ found it easy to copy, was far less likely to make mistakes and felt much more relaxed helping them to perform the pattern well.