Ditch the theater, pick up an improv class: Exceptional leaders laugh (Part 3 of 3)

improv

I was at the SHRM conference earlier this year and attended a session about how a company out east requires all of its employees to take an improv course. In fact, it’s part of the orientation process for new hires. I was fascinated by the idea and got to thinking about comedy, improv and leadership.

Instead of spending Friday nights checking out the latest movie flicks at the theater, sign up for an improv class. It’ll not only be more entertaining, but it might just make you a better leader.

Improv comes from the word improvise or improvisation, which is something exceptional leaders do well. Taking an improv class will teach you more than just improvising but it will also allow you to bring a whole new kind of culture to your team or organization, one full of laughter and energy.

Do you ever have an employee say something to you that is so rude, unexpected or otherwise, shocking? You stare at them like a deer in headlights, not knowing how to respond. Well, improv will teach you how to be more comfortable with yourself so that you become more comfortable with others.

One of my greatest beliefs is that exceptional leaders and people don’t allow anything or anyone to make them feel awkward, embarrassed or uncomfortable. This is a lesson that I have learned over and over again and still continue to learn. Improv has helped me develop the tact, the wit and the self-confidence to overcome situations that would normally make me feel extremely uncomfortable.

How is that possible, you ask? It’s not just about laughing and fun. Improv classes push us out of our comfort zones. It forces us to respond in the moment to unexpected scenarios and comments in front of an audience of peers and strangers.

Improv is the future of leadership development and communication skills training. Pretty soon, we’re going to have five generations in the workforce. Are you and your organization’s leaders ready to respond to all of them, build a culture fit for all of them and engage all of them into your work and organization? Consider using improv training to help prepare your organizations for the future.

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