What can leaders learn from Improv

Getting familiar with failure during improv

Tomorrow I’m joining Abigail Paul for a 2.5-hour improvisation fundamentals course at the Theatre Language School in Frankfurt. No, this is not my natural habitat. But I rationally know that improv can help me reach the next level as a speaker and leader.

I realize that fear of embarrassment is a natural reaction of my brain. Luckily I also know it is a temporary one and I have the tools to overcome it. Thus, I booked my seat, told you about my plans, promised Abigail I would be there…so I can’t chicken out at the last minute 🙂

Improv skills help you to take responsible risks and boost your team

Failure is ever present in improv theatre. Fear of failure can hinder your performance immensely. I’m sure you can remember a moment where you didn’t perform as well as you could because of this fear.

Improv can help you to accept the risk of failure on the way to larger success. In addition, by getting familiar with failure in a playful environment and experiencing that it makes you stronger, you will reduce its sting. Your brain is naturally build to make from failure a success story.

In addition Improv also teaches the value of risk sharing. During an improv session, everybody in the group (i.e., your team) plays a crucial role in achieving success. In addition your team will reduce your personal chance of failure. They help solve problems and provide support when things don’t go exactly as planned or as imagined. Your performance in other words increases with the help of others, and you in return learn how to boost them.

Improv skills help you hear and foster peoples input

A comfortable leader doesn’t need to be in charge of everything and can put his own thoughts to rest in order to see where the ideas of others will take them. In Improv, following the natural team dynamics in a group is important to play a more supportive role in the creative process and recognize when to fill in where this is most advantageous.  It helps you look at the right person at the right time.