Leaders can gain leadership knowledge in all kinds of unexpected places and through a variety of experiences.
Previously, I’ve posted about two leaders who’ve improved their leadership skills–and their results–by pursuing their passions, one through ballroom dancing and the other through “showing” horses.
Cody claims there are five leadership lessons he’s learned from practicing stand-up:
- Get Over Yourself!: Stand-up reinforces the importance of not taking yourself too seriously. And the less seriously you take yourself, the more credibility you gain as a leader, says Cody.
- Humor is Magnetic: Cody believes that humor is an incredibly powerful leadership tool, because in good times and especially in bad, followers are attracted to leaders who send out a confident vibe that says “If we stick together, we will get through these dark moments.” A leader who’s willing to laugh at the roughest times demonstrates enormous confidence, and that’s contagious.
- It’s Not Just What You Say, But How You Say It: Practicing comedy heightens one’s awareness of non-verbal cues, both what you’re signaling and what your audience is sending you. This is a critical skill for leaders and managers, when meeting with their teams, when speaking with clients and perhaps most of all, in new business presentations.
- Timing is Everything: Comedians, presenters and sales people know that timing plays an important role in closing the sale, convincing and audience and in getting the laugh. Cody says that the give-and-take with an audience that occurs in stand-up allows its practitioners to know how and when to fill a pregnant pause, and how to use humor to ease tension.
- Comedy Builds Courage: According to Cody, the experience of regularly facing an audience–many of whom are not in the mood to laugh–and actually surviving, helps one build a thicker skin and a deep well of bravery. Cody, who has spoken and blogged about the importance of leaders putting on a happy face, indicates it’s much easier to do so when you’ve taken steps to increase your courage and confidence.
Earlier this year, during the depths of the economic doldrums, Steve and co-founding partner Ed Moed decided they needed to do something to lift the agency’s spirits, maximize the free time that accompanied the slowdown, and increase the agency’s win rate.
It will come as no surprise that they trained a number of their staff in stand-up comedy. Among the results: enhanced morale, increased presentation skills and perhaps most important, a slew of new business wins.
Could you benefit from participating in stand-up comedy? Would taking yourself less seriously, but building your courage and exuding more confidence help you attract followers? Would fine-tuning your timing and enhancing your reading of non-verbal cues help to improve your win rate? What other passions are you pursuing that help make you a better leader?
Image Source: pechanga.com