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This week we’ve been discussing the extent to which leadership is theater. Leading an organization requires dramatic interpretation of events and a great amount of storytelling. To establish a sense of urgency to the work, a leader needs to use her bully pulpit to get the cooperation of many individuals. A leader, in trying to prevent panic and subsequent loss of key staff members, may undersell the urgency of the work. Dramatically conveying a sense of urgency is beyond the comfort zone of most leaders and may make a good case for including theater classes in leadership development programs.

We also suspect that improvisation classes would help a leader create a story framework around the mission of the organization and give her practice fitting it into impromptu workplace conversations.  In fact, for a leader to “walk the talk” and become a living symbol of a corporate culture, they might use the Method Acting technique where an actor immerses herself in the life of a character. A takeaway for our practice is that theater classes for an organization’s leadership team at the start of a change initiative may give them the behavioral tools they need to manage a successful transformation.

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