Posts Tagged ‘Improvisation’

Communication Skills Training

Leadership – 5 Vital Lessons from Actors…

Leadership is tough. Actors by nature, training and practice have to be incredible communicators in rehearsal, on stage and on set. Empathy, perceptiveness and emotional agility are vital skills for any performer – it would be impossible to fathom a Shakespearean monologue otherwise.

Whilst actors could certainly learn a lot from the discipline, organisation and decision making abilities of those in the corporate world, business leaders could also gain valuable insight from the agility of performers.

1. Make Choices & Take Risks

The odds are so stacked against any one actor making a success that by their choice of profession alone, they are extreme risk takers. Also the most magnetic performances require daring, sometimes dangerous choices to be made in terms of character and action. Risk nothing and you will only deliver a mediocre, cliched performance which is easily forgotten. Anyone remember Blockbuster Video..? “The talent is in the choices you make” – Robert De Niro.

2. Improvise

Few can improvise and roll with the punches as well as stage actors. The ability to take on new information quickly (new characters, relationships, scenes, scripts) and roll with the punches has enormous relevance for robotic, process obsessed managers. “Accept and build” is the improviser’s mantra. Accept everything, deny nothing. Since change is inevitable, managers need to understand that everything changes and roll with that fluidly instead of clinging on to old ways of doing things.

3. Understand Behaviour & Empathise

No matter what amazing innovation technology will bring us tomorrow, a true understanding of people’s behaviour, nuances and emotions will always mark out real leaders from middle managers. In fact this should be no hardship or task but borne of a natural curiosity. The skill of feeling a character’s joy and pain are part of the actor’s job description. The leader, if she is to understand an organisation and inspire them must first of all understand them and what moves them.

 4. Build Relationships

Actors regularly have to create close, trusting relationships with their colleagues very quickly – imagine barely knowing somebody yet charged with portraying a loving relationship of say twenty years within a couple of hours of knowing each other. With just four weeks rehearsal before curtain up, there simply isn’t time to take your time. Jump to it, throw yourself in. This of course, takes courage – the courage to surrender ego and trust others.

5. Perform

The presentation, pitch, speech, difficult conversation etc are all moments of theatre and nothing quite expedites a leadership journey like performing with verve in those situations. Foster the storyteller within you and actively seek out every opportunity to showcase these skills.

Sartaj Garewal is the founder of Dynamic Presenting – a creative, leadership development consultancy, adapting theatre training to create leadership programs for business.

Dynamic Presenting – Enabling Powerful Communication

Emotional Intelligence growth decade

Emotional Intelligence – Decade of Personal Growth

Awareness of Emotional Intelligence has grown rapidly over the last 10 years. A crucial area of analysis in terms of personal and professional development. The phrase was first coined by leadership figure and journalist Daniel Goleman.

Emotional intelligence is all about understanding your own emotional state in any given moment and being able to understand that of those around you as well. There are great personal benefits in understanding why you feel any particular emotion and being able to clearly distinguish and articulate what you are feeling is immensely powerful. Of course, this meat and drink to those of us who work in theatre and drama, where fundamental emotions are our stock in trade.

Report on Emotional Intelligence

Intriguing read about the development of “Emotional Intelligence” over the last 10 years, now viewed as a crucial area of analysis in terms of personal development and leadership. This report looks at 15 or so key composite areas within the field of Emotional Intelligence and offers insightss based on industry, age, gender, culture etc. Interestingly the self-employed tend to have a higher overall level of EI – something to be said for living as a forager and not relying on the falsehood of job security and making things happen…?

Why do business leaders lack Emotional Intelligence?

Perhaps surprisingly and despite an avalanche of research, discussion and debate, many C-suite leaders are still emotionally inept. Why is that? A recent survey concluded that middle managers often have far more emotional intelligence than those at the top of organisations. Could it be that they are more skilled in people management as they have to make people related decisions everyday? Whereas the average CEO rarely has to encounter the same number of ground troops.

Perhaps organisations are still focused on tangibles and hard figures above all else. A decade of emotional intelligence is just the beginning…

Sartaj Garewal is the founder of Dynamic Presenting – a creative, leadership development consultancy, adapting theatre training to create leadership programs for business.

Dynamic Presenting – Enabling Powerful Communication