By Becca Stahl – Content Development Manager
Seeing the future will not help you win the lottery.
What it might do is show you that at the current rate of change, there won’t be gender equality in the workplace until the year 2095. If you want to live to see an equal workplace, let’s talk about 2095 Today.
In the meantime, all women and men can start improving leadership skills immediately with the 7 Elements of Improv:
Improvisation requires honesty and authenticity. Don’t silence your ideas before they even see the light of day, especially if it’s because you think they’ll make you look weak or too “emotional”. Your “so-so” might inspires some else to produce an “oh, wow!”, and your unique point of view is valuable.
Second City’s improvisers are experts at loving every idea – even if it’s only for a little while. This doesn’t mean every idea moves forward at the expense of your own, but instead is a chance to find out what happens when you focus on what’s right with an idea, instead of immediately poking holes. Bonus: It takes a lot less energy to find the positive than it does to list the negative.
The best improv ensembles are comprised of people who have several differing points of view. Instead of worrying that your ideas might not jive with everyone else – celebrate your unique perspective. (Note: if your ideas and opinions are not your own, make sure you do something about that. Copyright infringement is no joke.)
Be sure to reserve judgement – this goes for ideas and for people. Judging someone based on their gender (or any other superficial characteristic for that matter) is like signing a death warrant for innovation. Create first. Edit later.
Free to Fail
Improvisors are required to embrace failure. A lot of it. When you don’t get freaked out by the failure, it allows you to start immediately seeing the possibilities. And remember: one failure doesn’t reflect on you until the end time.
Listen to Understand
A true leader knows when to speak and when to listen. At Second City we know that if you aren’t listening, then you can’t truly create. If you make assumptions instead of listening to understand, you might miss some key information. And remember, nobody has ever said, “Ugh, I can’t stand her – she listens SO MUCH!”
Follow the Follower
An improvisor’s #1 task is to support their scene partner. Don’t forget to model supportive and inclusive behavior for your team. React authentically. And if you practice trust, your team will do the same for you.