Is Improv the Future of Leadership Training?

Each Friday, RPS highlights five popular news stories from the world of training professionals. Visit our blog each week to see which stories were trending amongst your industry peers.

Chief Learning Officer
For Leaders, Improv Training Is No Laughing Matter
By Frank Kalman
Improvisation, or “improv,” isn’t just for laughs. As is turns out, hidden beneath the sketches seen on popular shows like Saturday Night Live or Chicago’s famous Second City are skills leaders and business executives could use, especially in today’s frenetic business environment. That’s why business schools at esteemed institutions such as Duke, MIT and UCLA have all made investments in improv training. It’s not that executives these days need to be funny or able to act — although some might argue it couldn’t hurt — but the skills used in improv are rooted in communication, influence, engagement, listening, relationship building and awareness. 

Harvard Business Review
The Future of Talent is in Clusters
By Dave Aron
An effective team is a powerful thing. Many of us have participated on teams where the members complement each other, trust each other and find ways of working that are not only effective, but also enjoyable. For teams like this, performance is typically much higher than might be expected of the sum of individuals. And yet while teams often are where the real work gets done, most businesses don’t value or manage them well. But what if there was another way? One in which organizations capitalize on the inherent value of a well-functioning team? One where the organization evolves its management style to let teams self-manage to preserve their culture and value? 

Business Insider
Hierarchy Kills Innovation
By Andy Boynton
There was a time in our organizational past when hierarchies worked well enough. During the heydays of heavy industry, firms operated like machines. Their mission was to crank out products, as uniformly, efficiently, and prolifically as possible. Today, businesses have to operate like brains, not like machines. They need to be fast, flexible, and adaptive, all of which require a robust flow of ideas. In this article, Boynton explains the trick producers of television dramas and comedies use to neutralize hierarchy and yield exceptional ideas. 

The Wall Street Journal
How To Create a Culture of Candor
Adapted from “The Wall Street Journal Guide to Management” by Alan Murray
There are no silver bullets in the field of management, but insisting on candor comes as close to being an all-purpose problem-solver as any idea yet encountered. It’s vital for managers to insist on candor at all times, as well as to reach out and solicit intelligence from as many different people as possible. Accept, and even welcome, troubling information when it’s delivered, and praise those with the courage to surface unpleasant news. 

Huffington Post
The 5 Subtle Signs of Workplace Fear and Stress—And How To Manage Them
By David Peck
Leaders and managers should assume fear and stress are alive and well in their workplace. It’s critical for them to ferret it out, rather than let it fester or wait for it to flare up. An observant leader can actively reduce the toxic side effects of fear and stress among their team more than they know. For starters, take notice of issues being tolerated for too long, and observe the “yes to everything syndrome,” the common people-pleasing reaction to stress. Furthermore, be wary of “all good news” as you monitor what’s happening on your team.

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