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In episode 62 of “The JoyPowered™ Workspace Podcast,” JoDee and Susan discuss how the tools of improv comedy can make you a better leader with Beth St. Clair, founder of ActUp Consulting. Topics include the value of improv comedy for leaders, specific improv skills that can be applied to leadership, and what to do if you’re intimidated by this concept.
To start off the episode, JoDee shares an article she came across from Ink Magazine entitled “The Unlikely Skill That Can Make Anyone a Better Leader.” In the article, Leigh Buchanan shares that Stanford Professor Dan Cline teaches leaders to infuse creativity and comedy in their leadership, citing techniques from Second City and Upright Citizens Brigade to help with ideation and problem solving.
After welcoming Beth St. Clair to the podcast, Beth gives us a rundown about the most valuable things embracing improv comedy has brought to her life and career. After accepting her own creativity, Beth realized that she was not utilizing the ensemble around her to take her work to the next level. Instead of shouldering burdens alone, Beth began to co-create with her teammates and immediately began to see more creative results.
Improv comedy has taught Beth a number of lessens, and she takes a moment to share them with the podcast. Among the most important? Staying in the moment, the importance of pivoting quickly, and a feel for when to take control and when to play a supporting role. These skills, along with the classic improv mindset of “Yes, and,” have considerably improved her career. “Yes, and,” Beth says, fosters an environment of togetherness and creativity, preventing practitioners from blocking creativity and stymieing the flow of ideas. It’s important to remember, says Beth, that everyone has
the ability to be creative, some people just need to remember how to work the muscle.
In the listener question, Natasha from Maryland wonders about the necessity of an employee handbook. JoDee recommends creating one once you hit a certain threshold of employees, but notes that it’s absolutely better to not have one than to have one and not follow it. In the news, HR Dive’s Kathryn Moody states the case for Artificial Intelligence as a partner, not a threat. As always though, technology takes some time to troubleshoot, and it’s important to make sure we don’t let AI run unchecked.
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