"I'm not a shouter...
It's not really my style."
I heard that from a client this week, and the longer I've sat with it, the more cringe-worthy I find the notion that anyone could call shouting a "style" of leadership, management or basic human communication.
Shouting is not a leadership style. It's a bad habit. Fortunately, it's also a changeable habit.If you're a leader or HR team member who needs to confront a leader or employee about shouting, don't procrastinate. Don't tell yourself you've got bigger fish to fry, or the he/she "was just having a bad day." Every moment that passes between a leader or manager shouting, and the situation being fully addressed is a moment where your team members:
It's expensive to hire new people. Shouting demotivates and dehumanizes your team members... even the ones who weren't directly shouted at. You may motivate your employee to accomplish the task you shouted about.. but you also motivated them to look for a different job, and you certainly did not motivate them to do the things that will actually help your company grow exponentially (like pitch really bold ideas, give feedback about potential process improvements, and look for ways to go above and beyond.)
So for all of these reasons, you absolutely CANNOT excuse shouting on the part of any person on your team - regardless of job title or how many sales he or she brings in.
Assuming you're now convinced that you must address someone who shouts, here are three pieces of advice to help you, aside from the Best Practice for Offering Difficult Feedback, which I consider Level 0 in handling confrontation effectively:
Confronting someone who shouts is additionally scary, because we naturally want to avoid being shouted at! Just remember that even the most personal and difficult feedback can be received with grace and respect when it is offered with equal parts: honesty, clarity and kindness. Also, I've had many such conversations in my line of work, and I can tell you that even people who shout sincerely want to grow and become better leaders! Shouting is not indicative of someone who is inherently evil (despite what people say at the water cooler.)
Your scene partner (this employee/co-worker who shouted) is more than their shouting behavior, but that doesn't give them a free pass to continue belittling others on your team, and passively sabotaging the success of your company.
Best of luck to you! If you follow my advice and confront someone at work, please reach out to me and let me know how it went! I love hearing the various success stories of how these methods are empowering people to have really tough conversations -- you've got this!
If the goal is to engage in meaningful dialogue that provides a perspective that your scene partner has not perhaps considered, or to simply keep the lines of communication open for more growth... name calling, dumping statistics and bickering about hypotheticals (especially doing any of this over text or comments on FaceBook) is **unlikely** to help you do that.
Most people know that already, but still get caught up offering those unhelpful contributions, because they were motivated to "enter the scene" by feelings that happen when we aren't in that optimal headspace.
The picture below indicates the headspace/heart-space that will ideally help you **build something you're proud of** with a scene partner who disagrees with you IF THE GOAL IS TO DO SO.
... when we enter the scene fueled by rage, defensiveness, self righteousness, resentment, anxiety, the need to prove something or flat out pessimism that it's still possible to build something beautiful, it's really easy for well meaning people to execute confrontation in a way that does not reflect the love that truly is in their hearts. I've been there!!
I'm sending tons and tons of love and light to the **MANY** friends I have (of various political persuasions) who have the intention of making the world a better a place; a place that is just, equitable and safe for **everyone.**
May we be peacemakers in the way we debate the path to this vision. May we give our scene partners opportunities to show us the love they are rooted in beyond the bumper stickers on their cars. May we pave the way to the future we envision with the same grace, love and compassion we imagine is waiting for us at the destination.
We are more alike my friends, than we are unalike. Yes, we are more alike my friends than we are unalike.
If using improv in a professional setting ever crosses the average person's mind, it's usually for purposes like team building or brainstorming. I get it (and that's the exact kind of work that got me started in this business, as a matter of fact!)
... but improv is so much more than just a way to laugh alongside and connect with your coworkers for an hour or so. The same skills that make improvisers successful on stage, make soul-centered leaders and HR staff succeed in building a culture that engages employees more deeply, retains fantastic employees longer and is completely magnetic to the talent, clients and opportunities that will help it succeed in the long run.
Don't believe me? Watch this 6-minute video and allow me to explain!
Office culture includes a complicated web of relationships, especially in small or medium sized companies. In every team there are gender politics, power dynamics, social mores and structural hierarchies to consider, but small or medium sized companies often rely on in-network or referral based hiring, at least for a while, which adds another dynamic to consider.
This type of recruiting makes it common for there to be family clusters or social clusters of some kind (perhaps an over-representation of alumni from the same university, or church group) in small or medium sized companies. Some of the pros and cons may be obvious:
Pro: "Family dynamic" that feels safe and fun... at least to the people in the "in-group."
Con: "Family dynamic" that feels intimidating and maybe even discriminatory to the people not in the in-group.
Do you have a lot of fear on this subject? If you're looking for advice on how to avoid unintentional harassment, follow that link to read an article I've written entirely on that subject.
Why It Matters:One of the un-intended consequences for companies is that a "family culture" muddies the waters when it comes to sexual harassment. For example:
If You're NOT the Victim:Harassment is a violation of everyone's right to a safe and dignifying work environment, because if one person is made to be unsafe at work, it sets the precedent for anyone to be unsafe at work. So even if you're not the victim, you can still go to HR, the police, or the EEOC for guidance or to file a complaint.
To be clear, in order to file a claim with the EEOC as a peripheral victim, you'd need to be able to prove that a "reasonable person" would find the circumstances hostile and/or intimidating OR enduring the situation must have become a condition of your continued employment, not just the direct victim's.
In order to broach the subject effectively, you must do 3 things successfully:
I have heard male colleagues say they are terrified to be on a work trip or even alone in a room with a female coworker, for fear of saying or doing the wrong thing and winding up accused of sexual harassment.
I admit that when I initially heard this, it was all I could do to bite back the words "Just don't harass people and then there's nothing to be afraid of!!"
But it's more complicated than that. If all you know is what you learned in your obligatory sexual harassment e-course about what NOT to say or do, one could reasonably feel ill-equipped for building healthy professional relationships.
It comes to my attention that as a woman, I have received countless hours of advice (both solicited and not) on how to conduct myself around men in a professional setting. There's plenty of advice out there for women on how to lean in and navigate environments historically run by men.
...but I'm not sure if men have had the same number of opportunities to gain similar education and understanding. So, if you identify with any of the following, this article was written with the sincere intention of being a meaningful tool for you to communicate and collaborate well with your colleagues:
If any of that sounds like you, read on to better understand how to communicate with the people around you in a dignifying and non-threatening manner.
First Things First:Intentional sexual harassment is one thing... but I believe that's not what happens most of the time. The Harvey Weinsteins of the world do not represent the majority of instances of harassment (sexual or otherwise) at work.
But your lack of intention to be a "harasser," will not hold up in court. So it's critical that you have a clear understanding of what harassment and/or sexual harassment are. If you'd like to brush up on your legal understanding of these issues, the EEOC's website has a lot of helpful information.
The HR professionals I work with tell me that they often receive these defenses by male employees when confronted about harassment:
Whether or not these are sincere representations of their intentions/understanding, or the final, desperate pleas from people about to lose their jobs is not something we'll ever know. BUT, you do not need to end up getting fired, or unknowingly causing your co-workers to quit because they feel disrespected and unsafe around you.
How to NOT be That Guy: AKA Honoring Your CoWorkers in Your Communication & CollaborationLet's start with appropriate humor and then cover appropriate compliments. When I do sexual harassment trainings, I use improv as a lens for understanding respectful, appropriate communication at work. Believe me, I love humor! Connecting with people through laughter is great, and so is paying someone you respect a compliment.
But lets be clear about how to do that so that your execution matches your intention.
Laws of Appropriate Humor:
Real life is improv not stand up. Introducing non-sequitur, punch-liney jokes about anything is risky and and not encouraged in the workplace. That type of humor assumes "We all agree about this thing the joke is making fun of." ...never a safe assumption in a professional setting.
Scripted comedy (like stand up or sketch) involves a rigorous editing, revising and peer-review process. It's also introduced to it's audience at a time when they've opted in to that experience. The performers and the audience have agreed to a certain amount of envelope-pushing... that is not the case at work.
Improv is relies on teamwork instead of punchlines. The people you know who are credited with "having a good sense of humor," are not the people running around telling jokes they heard somewhere. They say funny things in response to something that just happened, because they were fully present in that moment, they were listening, and they connected what just happened to something that happened before.
This pattern formation or connection is what makes an "improv joke;" it's the kind of thing that you try to explain later and end up saying "You had to be there." This type of humor doesn't rely on poking fun at someone or something; it relies on making connections and patterns. It is fundamentally different than punchline comedy.
Here's how to build your skill at making "improv jokes" that are funny AND inoffensive (these are the same skills improvisers learn when they first start taking classes):
Do those seem more soul-centered than tangibly practical? TOO BAD! :) Just kidding - the truth is that the more logistical aspects of humor (timing, delivery, stage presence, build up, call backs, uses of silence, misdirection, repetition, denial of expectation, etc) those are all things it's much easier to learn by practicing, say, in an actual improv class!
That is not a joke - community improv classes are more broadly available than ever before, and they're a great way to foster personal and professional development. Google "improv class" and the name of your town -- I bet you'll find something!
Laws of Appropriate Compliments:
I've dedicated a lot of time recently to exploring and teaching the applications of improv for preventing sexual harassment at work. This is the first installment, and it will be followed shortly with content about best practices for work places, and an article specifically about what how to confront a coworker who is unintentionally speaking or behaving in an inappropriate way.
Culture is everyone's job! It's not just up to HR to make office's safe and dignifying for everyone, and it's not just up to women to navigate around the behavior that makes them uncomfortable at work. If you've read to this point, you're likely someone who is very committed to being a protagonist in the age of #MeToo.
Do you have questions that weren't addressed in this article? Feel free to leave a comment or message me directly!
If you'd like more information about my Improv, Ethics and Harassment training, please message me directly.
There are all kinds of reasons why people withhold constructive criticism. But not all of them have to do with fear of retaliation, or a lack of opportunity. Sometimes your co-workers and colleagues aren't giving you the honest feedback you need... because they like you too much!
Let's be clear from the beginning: I believe in kindness. Kindness is a good thing, and being kind **does NOT automatically mean you're in the situation described in this article.**
BUT... If, like me and many others, you subscribe to the philosophy of attracting flies with honey instead of vinegar, there's a chance you're not hearing the feedback that will help you grow to your fullest potential.
I have experienced this in my own life, and have anecdotally witnessed this in client situations as well. People might be willing to give logistical feedback... but they're really hesitant to say the stuff that matters the most.
It's easy to procrastinate on telling someone you like that they interrupt too often, or that they could benefit from a writing class, or that they're bringing more of their cats to work than they realize... or, as a YouTube viewer once told me, that "the lighting in your videos looks like you're a hostage in a basement."
Ouch. Note taken. New light kit ordered.
Your career will thrive when you're growing constantly through helpful feedback. It will stagnate if you're getting away without performing at your highest caliber because people like you.We NEED this feedback, friends. It doesn't need to be delivered as harshly as my YouTube viewer offered it to me, but it DOES need to be delivered. To help make sure you are growing to your highest potential, this article outlines:
1) Some of the kind person behavior that lends itself to this problem, and
2) How to make sure you get the feedback you need without changing who you are.
1. THE BEHAVIOR
Kind people are likely to:
Dear kind people: KEEP DOING EVERYTHING ON THIS LIST. And thank you for being the good you wish to see in your life, office, community and world! Your behavior does not need to change, but it may need to be supplemented.
2. THE SOLUTION
Make sure you're doing this to make sure you don't get stuck in professional rut, or unintentionally create a power dynamic in which no one feels like they have the authority to confront you about something.
Hi <Name of Employee> ,
I'm setting aside some time to hear feedback on <date>. I'd really like to hear from you about your experience <with X situation>. Specifically, I'd like to hear from you about my <performance item related to this thing>. Would you be willing to talk with me for ~30 minutes on that day? I'd love to hear your feedback on:
Specific example 1
Specific example 2
Specific example 3
I deeply value your time and willingness to offer your perspective with thoughtfulness and candor. If you've got any other feedback about <general situation>, and/or ideas to share about improvements going forward, I would also welcome that information during our time together.
Thanks so much,
If it's helpful to see, here are the specific examples I suggested:
If we're being honest, our kindness isn't JUST about honoring the people around us... we also want them to like us, right? I'll be honest that I've tiptoed around saying what I meant in the past because I cared too much what others thought of me. I've been assured that I'm not alone as a kind person fighting the "people pleaser demon."
It's vulnerable to elicit feedback in a way where you're likely to hear something that stings. Hesitance around feedback that is, at least in part, about self preservation. So if you feel reluctant to fish for critical feedback, just remember everything you have to gain. By being proactive about soliciting real feedback, you'll be contributing to a healthy office culture, building deeper relationships with the people around you and growing to your fullest potential!
**Edited 6/5 to exclude favorable comments about LuLaRoe after reviewing current, ongoing law suits and investigations into the legality of their structure.**
I'm a female momtrepreneur in my thirties. That means I am subjected to an endless barrage of Facebook invitations to sign up under other 30-something moms as part of their various Multi-Level Marking (MLM) businesses. If you're not familiar with this term, you're likely still familiar with the companies: Arbonne, Rodan and Fields, Young Living, doTerra, LuLaRoe and Amway are all examples.
If you are one such person, please know that in full sincerity, I've got nothing but love for you. I truly hope for your success! This post is intended for people considering whether or not to join, it's not intended to throw shade at anyone who is already participating. For realz.
A participant in one of my programs recently asked me whether or not I thought she should join one such MLM. I'd like to share the same advice with you that I shared with her.
These companies are very enticing if you're not happy in your current job, or you're looking for more cash on the side, but you need to look closely before jumping in.
What exactly IS a pyramid scheme.
Perhaps the most obvious critique of the MLM model is its striking similarity in outward appearance to a pyramid scheme. This term gets thrown around so often that many of them address it head on in corporate blog posts about "How you can know for sure that ________ is not a pyramid scheme."
In order to gain an independent understanding of the line between MLM and Pyramid Schemes, it's important to understand what a pyramid scheme is exactly. A pyramid scheme is a business model which promises compensation to participants for recruiting people underneath them rather than for the actual sale of goods and services.
The reason the line is so thin between this illegal practice and many MLM companies is represented by the exact way this blog post started. Remember the endless barrage of people trying to get me to sign up under them in their make up or essential oil businesses? Legitimate MLMs grow, in part, by each person getting "just 7 of their friends or family members to join" below them. When you make an org chart... it looks exactly like a pyramid.
HOW TO TELL THE DIFFERENCE
In order to know whether you're about to lose money in a SCAM, or potentially make some money with diligent hard work, you need an answer to the following question: Is the MLM you're talking with generating actual revenue from RETAIL SALES (meaning sales to actual customers) or are they primarily generating revenue from wholesale purchases of their product to the folks who have signed up for the company?
Do they have testimonials from people not selling the product? What percentage of the people selling the product make the amount of money you're hoping to make?
BUT PYRAMIDS ARE NOT THE ONLY PROBLEM.
If it's not a pyramid scheme, then what's your gripe, Andrea?
My gripes for non-scam MLMs include the following:
The numbers they show you often do not represent what you think they represent as JO informs you and as this blog post from The Finance Guy demonstrates.
Here's a snippet from his post that I think is noteworthy: "Only 1% (of all people who sell doTerra oils) are earning more than $200 a week in commission from doTERRA. Of the 15% of advocates who join to 'start a for profit business', 14/15, or 93.33% of them made less than $10,000 in 2015"
There are too many MLMs to site all of their numbers, but I've looked at many and they are extremely similar. Feel free to fact check this - if you look beyond the glitzy recruitment brochures, the factual statistics are grim.
While JO provides a worthwhile perspective about MLMs that definitely are pyramid schemes, I did a little research into an MLM that is definitely NOT a pyramid scheme. :) It's called Traveling Vineyard.
For review, how do I know it's not a pyramid scheme? Orders for wine are placed after a retail purchase so the company is not relying on folks who have joined to spend thousands of their own dollars to purchase bulk inventory purchased at a wholesale rate. They also sell a wine subscription service called ReWined. Therefore, while they do rely on sellers to recruit more sellers beneath them, they are actually selling a product and service to the outside world.
To give an example of my non-scam concerns, here is their commission structure:
Your commission starts out at 15% of your sales. Their average bottle of wine costs between $15 - $20. Let's say you were to sell $399 worth of product or ~20 bottles of wine. You've earned a little under $60.
For someone who is good at sales, selling 20 bottles of wine is not hard. If you're in the right group, 20 bottles of wine requires maybe only 2 or 3 customers! But if you're at someone's house party ("Wine Tasting"), and 4 of their friends came because they didn't want to be rude, you probably need a conversion rate of 100% in order to sell 20 bottles of wine. So you be the judge: is the effort you put into that event worth $60?
The highest commission is 35%, but you'd need to sell $4500 worth of product to earn that. So that means you've sold >200 bottles of wine. You've earned $1575.
That second number may sound enticing, but keep in mind that that's GROSS profit. In order to sell at that level and earn that kind of commission regularly, you'll need to be investing in marketing materials, driving to Wine Tastings and possibly covering venue rental fees (that depends on the host, and is purely a hypothetical). I'll say from personal experience that live, in-person events have a way of nickel and diming you!
Also, there is such a thing as market saturation. I don't have stats on this, to be clear, but if every 30-something woman is pestered on social media as much as I am to attend so-and-so's jewelry, skin care, stick on nail, sex toy, essential oil, vitamin supplement or tupperware party: WE'RE FREAKING TAPPED OUT, FOLKS.
I love you. I want you not to work at your crappy job. I want you to go on vacation and have a Mercedes and whatever else motivated you to join this company.
If you're thinking of joining, keep this anecdote in mind: Scanning for MLM content is now the first thing I do when I get a friend request on Facebook. If there's even ONE post about MLM, I hit "delete." This exact practice was a discussion at a women's entrepreneurship networking group I was at recently. We laughed about it, but it's worth understanding that social media is one of the primary ways individual MLM members find customers... and there's a good chance that many of your friends or would-be connections are sick to death of the MLM racket in their news feeds.
Key takeaway: You'll need to have the infrastructure of an actual business, not a "side hustle." Is this something you can realistically do?
All of this is to say, you need to fully understand the volume you would need to be selling in order to reach your target earnings. There's no convincing statistic in the recruitment brochure that can change the reality that you either like and succeed at selling or you don't. (This is said with love!) Just keep it real!
ASK THIS BEFORE YOU JOIN
If you've been approached about MLM, and you've read this far and you're still considering, please be sure to ask the following questions to your recruiter before you sign anything:
The most important thing is to be honest with your recruiter and with yourself about your expectations. There's totally a chance you can waste your time and money even without the company being a scam. I don't want that to happen to you, and you probably don't either!
ALTERNATIVE SIDE HUSTLES
If you are looking for money on the side while you figure out your full time job situation, here are several alternative options to consider (none of these are affiliate links, if that's something you worry about!):
--> Babysitting through care.com
--> Pet sitting or dog walking through rover.com
--> You can find a variety of freelance opportunities on Upwork
--> Driving for Uber or Lyft (I've driven for Lyft)
--> Delivering food through Grub Hub
--> Teaching english as a second language online to children in Asia (you can earn upwards of $22/hour doing this)
I've also done things like:
--> sign up to be in research studies (getting paid $50 - $200 for 1 hour of my time),
--> work part time at my local farmer's market (getting paid $10/hour... but plus whatever produce I wanted after each shift!)
--> Be a caregiver to an elderly person (drive them to the store and appointments, shovel their side walk, take them to lunch and listen to their stories, etc.)
MY OFFICIAL STANCE
As a career coach who works mostly with the same demographic often targeted by the MLM industry, it is my opinion that most people should avoid MLM. I've seen many people lose money and then double down into their negative self-story (Nothing can change. Adulting sucks. I'll be stuck in my job forever. The world is a stupid crap factory, etc etc.) after participating in MLM.
There are so many ways things can work out for you, but MLM is not likely to be one of them. The big goals that you have are ABSOLUTELY POSSIBLE, but I'm much happier to see you finding a side hustle on the above list of alternative options. Something straightforward that requires no initial investment and will ultimately provide you with actual dollars to pay your bills.
If you're also an exhausted, big-dream-having foster/adoptive/special needs parent, I see you. I know what it’s like to feel overwhelmed by the responsibilities of coordinating care and showing up for my kids day in and day out, while also having this sparkle of desire in my heart to make something happen FOR ME professionally speaking. It's totally possible, though, and this post is intended as a note of encouragement as well as some insight into how I've been able to do it.
First of all, you need a fundamental understanding that IT’S NEVER THE WRONG TIME TO THRIVE. You’re allowed to want both, and it’s totally possible to be an AWESOME parent and be successful in your career.
Everyone is different, and I'll never be the one telling another person how to grieve, cope or process the difficult parts of special needs parenting, but I will say this: you've got to listen to the little voice inviting you to be BRAVE.
I had a powerful moment of realization about 9 months after my kids came to me by way of foster care. I realized that I was using them as a crutch; I was allowing myself to hide behind the drama and chaos, because I was afraid of failing. I was ducking my dream of getting my business off the ground and basically using my two sweet kids as an excuse that no one could ever call me out on.
Who's ever going to tell a foster mom who's busting her butt to meet everyone's needs that she should really be trying harder? No one was ever going to kick my butt about not chasing my dreams. For all anyone else could tell, my dreams changed when my schedule changed. For all anyone else could tell, I was barely keeping up with all the demands of my time and energy and basic sanity.
But I knew the secret: my bandwidth was bigger than I was letting on, or at least had the potential to be bigger with some adjustments of focus and priority (...and before you panic, my kids were NEVER removed as the #1 focus and priority). My dreams hadn't changed, I just knew that in order to achieve them I would have to step up in a bigger way than I ever had before and that was freaking scary.
The "come to Jesus moment" was the understanding that if I didn't take a stand for my professional vision, nobody else would and it's not because they don't care... it's because parenting in situations like this paints a picture to the outside world that it would be the wrong time to do anything else.
But in our heart of heart of hearts... we know better. :)
“It’s never the wrong time to thrive.” has become my mantra. Having a lot on your plate doesn’t make it a weird/bad/wrong time to start a business, or chase your career dreams.
As my business has grown, I’m starting to be in the flattering but weird situation of getting the “How are you doing this?!” question more and more often when I’m out and about, especially from those who have been along for the ride since I was first getting started.
“Do you have a full time nanny?” Nope.
“Is your husband handling the foster care stuff now?” Nope.
"Have your children fully processed their physical and emotional trauma and healed completely to the point where things have just plain settled the F down?" Hahaha - thanks for asking. Nope. (This is a fake question that I've never been asked included here for comedic purposes.)
This is my answer, and I hope this feels like a note of encouragement by bringing a realization that there’s nothing “special” about me that you don’t have. YOU CAN DO IT TOO if that’s what you want.
ANSWER: I protect my calendar and my brain from unnecessary drama and focus my attention on the things that will actually create ROI instead of just help me feel like I crossed something off a list.
Beyond team work and self care (so important, but also not all it takes to chase career dreams and be a fully present special needs parent), what I’ve learned is that my business does not need 100% of my time, as some of the startup/entrepreneur advice-givers have suggested. It does, however, need 100% of my focus in the time I’ve designated for it, and for that focus to be on the right things.That’s what it takes: not some super-human ability to be amazing all the time. I am NOT a super human. You don't need 100 hours per day; you just need fully focused attention on the things that will actually impact the bottom line.
I’m a person who believes that there’s not a wrong time to shine your light, and that stepping out in faith (in yourself, in the process, in a higher power; ultimately: faith in something that is real and powerful to YOU) - even in the middle of chaos - is a gesture the Universe honors with an outpouring of support and resources. Faith and focus create magic.
Even when it feels like everything else is out of your control (which it IS!), faith and focus are always in your control. If it’s what you want, you ABSOLUTELY CAN do it!
Here for the first time?
About the Author: Andrea Flack-Wetherald is the creator of The Art of Confrontation™, an online class empowering overwhelmed people with improv skills to master the skills of self-advocacy, boundary stetting, and giving and receiving feedback so they can take more control of their career path.
She's also the owner of &Beyond, a leadership development and corporate culture consultancy that uses the philosophy and techniques found in improvised comedy and mindfulness practice to help leaders create cultures that reflect their good intentions, and ultimately attract, engage and retain fantastic employees as they grow.
Change is a good thing; it is a sign of life.
It also creates plenty of opportunities for tension, misunderstandings about who's job is who's, opaque communication as leaders try to keep up with a wave of new priorities, and feelings of insecurity about how to participate and what the future holds.
Growth-related change is often the reason my clients reach out to me. They are good leaders. Some of the best, in my humble opinion. And there's still friction and frustration in the midst of change.
When we're navigating change, the solution for a smooth transition isn't just "good leadership"... it's proactive confrontation infrastructure. Confrontation is like a river; it's just going to flow. That is it's nature. I don't find it helpful to approach discussion about and planning for confrontation with imagery of "putting out fires."
If you're extinguishing the passion people are bringing behind you're ideas, you're not leading - you're deciding to maintain status quo. Putting out fires is what happens when we learn to manage each other instead of learning to embrace each other, and truly collaborate.
I'm much more interested in teaching leaders how to carve out a plan for where the excess water can go when the rains come, so that the water can move with all it's might in a direction that is not damaging. When big change is on the horizon, you must be proactive about this. Otherwise, you don't get to be mad when the banks over flow and knock down your barn.
Here are 4 improv-based suggestions to begin creating a pathway for high water, and encouraging your team/ co-workers to flow in the direction of what cultivates a healthy, thriving office culture. Watch the video linked above for deeper context, but here is an outline:
How your leaders handle confrontation matters. It matters for your ability engage and retain team members, deliver on project deadlines, provide the highest quality to your customers and ultimately, it determines whether or not you can create a culture that matches your intentions.
If you're not in a position of leadership, know that modeling the work of curiosity instead of judgement and choosing to engage tense/heated dialogue with your coworkers with courage makes a big difference too. If I were to offer three pieces of advice to the ones of you who do not currently have a title reflective of their leadership capacity it's this:
What I love most about using improv for confrontation is that there's no barrier to entry. Anyone can start behaving this way and can deeply impact the culture around them, without any buy in from anywhere else in the hierarchy.
If you'd like more insights on using improv to grow as a leader (of a team or of your own life!), sign up for our weekly notes of improv-based advice and inspiration.