It's no joke: Improv at work builds bridges, eases stress

Want to be a strong leader? Channel your inner ... mole | practice | It's no joke: Improv at work builds bridges, eases stress
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November 30, 2023
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Leading the Way
Want to be a strong leader? Channel your inner ... mole
(Pixabay)
It may be tempting to liken our leadership style to animals we perceive as strong, such as a wolf or a grizzly bear, but as Nick Hobson, Influence at Work managing director, reveals through this story from the cultural tradition of the Ojibway, the mole should be our model. Moles are constantly listening and attuning to their surroundings' vibrations, which is "a reminder that the most profound leadership is quiet, thoughtful, and deeply connected to those it serves," Hobson writes.
Full Story: Inc. (tiered subscription model) (11/29) 
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Put it into practice: Learning to lead like a mole means putting aside traditional notions of command and control as a leader and using empathy to tune in to the needs of your team, Hobson writes. "It is the kind of leadership that resonates on a deeper level, fostering a sense of trust, respect, and emotional awareness."
SmartBrief on Leadership
It's no joke: Improv at work builds bridges, eases stress
(Peter Dazeley/Getty Images)
Applied improvisation, or AIM, is a team activity -- such as asking the group to solve a silly problem -- that improves self-awareness, management skills and connections with others, ultimately reducing stress, Boston Group Managing Partner Theodore Klein asserts. "The safe space created by AIM helps humanize management to the professional staff they manage, making them more approachable and reducing workplace friction," Klein writes.
Full Story: SmartBrief/Leadership (11/29) 
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Put it into practice: Feeling safer at work translates to more trust in your colleagues. The AIM process promotes relaxing, being spontaneous, learning that mistakes are OK and listening better to others, which are all skills gained through improv that help reduce stress and improve productivity and efficiency, Klein asserts.
Smarter Communication
People with a sense of humor -- the ability to elicit smiles from others or find humor in their own mistakes -- are able to overlook countless irritants, communications expert Dianna Booher says. "Getting upset [in high-pressure leadership situations] boosts your blood pressure; laughing and a lighthearted culture can boost your productivity and your influence," Booher writes.
Full Story: Booher Banter blog (11/28) 
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Put it into practice: Look for silver linings amid clouds, add a lighthearted soundtrack in the background of special events and allow space for laughter. Take a breath before responding to someone to ensure you're choosing positive or neutral language for a tactful reply, Booher recommends.
Future of Work
Your work future could include ...
In Their Own Words
Jodie Foster, at 61, is ready to give back to others
Foster (Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)
Jodie Foster's acting career began when she was 3 years old, and in this wide-ranging interview, she talks about that lifetime of experience but says her 50s were the most challenging decade as she questioned her looks and her worth, but now, at 61, she says she's happy giving back to younger actors. "Somehow, it's so much more satisfying to be a part of a team that's doing something awesome than it is to be all on your own trying to jump up that hill and make something out of nothing while everybody's like, 'Is it going to open well?'" Foster says.
Full Story: Interview magazine (11/29) 
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Daily Diversion
Sea worms reproduce by growing mini worms on their tail
(Dea / Giacomelli/Getty Images)
Some deep sea worms have an unsual reproduction strategy of growing a second worm on their rear that breaks away and swims to find mates, researchers detail in a study in Scientific Reports. Japanese green syllids develop an epitoke known as a stolon -- which grows its own smaller brain, eyes and antennae -- on their tail ends that are eventually broken off and regrown in a process that allows the worms to repeatedly reproduce.
Full Story: Live Science (11/29) 
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SmartBreak: Question of the Day
Nov. 30 is Computer Security Day. John Draper was one of the first notorious hackers, known by what hacker moniker?
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VotePhiber Optik
About The Editor
Candace Chellew
Candace Chellew
Chellew
As a former class clown, I can attest to humor's healing and unifying power. Leaders who know how to elicit laughter at just the right time can defuse tense situations, help their team reach a consensus on complex topics and create a sense of camaraderie.

However, as Dianna Booher warns, humor can cross the line into cruelty when used to belittle or subtly put another down.

"Genuine humor leaves no sting," Booher asserts. "Never disguise a "message" to someone in a humorous barb. Humor should strengthen and heal, not weaken and hurt relationships."

How have you used humor as a leader? What worked? What backfired? Tell me about it.

If this newsletter helps you, please tell your colleagues, friends or anyone who can benefit. Forward them this email, or send this link.

What topics do you see in your daily work that I should know about? Do you have praise? Criticism? Drop me a note. And don't forget to send me photos of your pets, your office and where you spend your time off.
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I see but one rule: to be clear. If I am not clear, all my world crumbles to nothing.
Stendhal,
writer
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