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  • Writer's pictureSusan & Renée

Infusing your Leadership with an Improv Mindset


One might not immediately associate the art of improvisation with business strategies. Yet, as we discussed last week, the principles and techniques of improv have shown to be remarkably potent for organizational leaders.

 

Today we will suggest some tangible actions to help you begin incorporating these mindsets into your leadership style.

 

Active Listening: Leaders who actively listen to their teams build stronger relationships, foster trust, and create an environment where diverse perspectives are valued.

Repeat what you heard: Get into the habit of repeating (in your own words or verbatim) what your colleague has said before responding to them. While it may feel awkward at first, it forces you to slow down, more fully digest their comments, and it assures the speaker that they have been heard.


W.A.I.T.: This is shorthand for Why Am I Talking? Keep this acronym in a convenient place where you will see it often as a reminder to listen more.


Yes, and: By building on the ideas of others, leaders encourage innovation. 

Monitor your “No” reaction: Pay attention to how often you immediately respond to someone with “no” or “but”. Instead of instinctively saying "no", identify what you can agree with or appreciate in a statement before expressing your own perspective.


Acknowledge and add: After acknowledging someone’s idea add information to expand on it. Here’s an example:

Leader: "We're facing challenges with our current workflow. Any thoughts on improvement?"

Team Member: "We could streamline the process by using a project management tool."

Leader: "Yes, and we can also schedule regular check-ins to address any issues that may arise."

  

Resilience: It’s not important that you be a flawless leader. What is important is how you recover from your mistakes. Learning to befriend your “failures” allows you to more clearly focus on the issue at hand.

Debrief: If you’re brooding over a mistake you made, go through the following steps:

         1. Ask yourself,

                   a) Knowing what I know now, what do I wish I had done differently?

                   b) What do I want to remember about this for the future?

2. Recognize your effort and the courage it took to face your mistake. Laugh it off and take a bow!

         3. Move on by asking yourself, “What is happening now that needs my attention?”


Practice self-care: It’s harder for us to keep things in perspective when we are stressed. By taking concrete steps to nourish yourself physically, mentally and spiritually on a regular basis you will leverage your ability to bounce back from setbacks. 

 

Cultivate Trust: When leaders create a culture of trust team members feel empowered to take risks, share ideas, and collaborate without hesitation.

Model transparency: Regularly communicate updates on company goals and changes. This keeps employees from feeling surprised which leads to feelings of insecurity and breeds mistrust. 


Have integrity: Follow through on what you say you will do. If you struggle with this, identify what makes it difficult and create a system to keep yourself accountable. 



Be All In When employees see that leaders are fully committed to the success of the team and the organization, it motivates them to give their best.

Seek to understand: Invest time in understanding the team's challenges and give them the resources they need to be successful. 


Be in the trenches: Work alongside the team during critical projects. This demonstrates your commitment in a tangible way. 


Incorporating these principles into your leadership style can breathe new life into your company by encouraging collaboration, adaptability, and dedication. The result? A standing ovation from your customers! 



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