EP: 12 – What Leaders Can Learn from Improv by Leading Through Uncertainty

Cheerful pretty Asian business woman standing in from of her employees
“All of the great leaders have shown vulnerability through time.”
- JD Gershbein (20:50-20:53)

In this week's episode, Pam Baker and Cindy Hunt welcome their guest JD Gershbein as they talk about what leaders can learn from improv by leading through uncertainty.

Leveraging his academic background, training in improvisational comedy at The Second City, and many years in broadcast media, JD GERSHBEIN is reinventing the concept of the personal brand strategist.

His multidisciplinary approach blends neuroscience, psychology, and the humanities, and affords his audiences valuable insights into how personal branding drives decision making and shapes our professional destiny.

He quickly rose to prominence as a LinkedIn profile writer, pioneering a proprietary methodology for crafting outcome-focused, story-driven content that positions his clients as executive leaders, thought leaders, trusted advisors, innovators, value creators, and solutionists.

Part One of ‘What Leaders Can Learn from Improv by Leading Through Uncertainty’

JD's LinkedIn story started in 2006 when he was following a winding course in the marketing field. He had his own company, and there wasn't really much in the area of websites as we know it today. He was working on some internal communications for companies. In 2006, he saw LinkedIn, was attracted to it right away and has never been the same.

But before that, he’d spent time in improv. Decades later, that training still influences his day to day. And amidst the current pandemic and uncertainty, there are useful lessons to be learned.

“Connection really matters right now more than a transaction.”
– Pam Baker (11:35-11:38)

What are three things that you learned from improv that are useful for leaders as they're navigating all the uncertainty around them?

☑️️ Self-awareness
This is at the top of the list.  Self-representation, whether it's in the online world, at a meeting sitting across the table from someone, or in front of a Zoom call, when you're trying to offer some insights, it's how you show up and how aware you are of yourself. It's essential to be present at the moment. 

☑️️ Keeping conversation in play (expanding and extending conversations)
From improv we learn about how to extend and expand conversations, how to create something for your content partner, your email partner, your stage partner, or your scene partner so that they can expand or extend on what you've done.  Continuity in a thread and working hard to stay connected is so important right now because of all of the distractions and the disruptions that we're getting daily.

☑️️ Be consciously respectful of the individual on the other side of your communications
There is plenty of pressure on us and demands to meet daily. It has become insurmountable for a lot of people. So, we have to find that delicate balance between the strength of our insights, our mentoring, our solutions, and the person on the other side of our conversation.

Part Two of ‘What Leaders Can Learn from Improv by Leading Through Uncertainty’

How can you extend that conversation so that you can get to the root of the discussion or a more meaningful conversation? 

During times like this, our batteries are emptying pretty quickly, and you have to do that dance between the comfort zone and being a little bit outside it. If you stay too far in your comfort zone, you might hold yourself back from connecting with new people, but if you stay too far outside of it, it can drain us. 

“Three must-do’s from improv for leaders: Self-awareness, extending the conversation and being consciously respectful” 
– Pam Baker (24:15-24:22)

The beauty of applied improvisation is to take your set of characteristics, your personality, the way you see the world, and your world view. Then, merge it with others as effectively and seamlessly as possible.

But when you're talking to new people, you don't know how they're going to respond. You have to ease them into the notion of collaborating with you in a new way.

Next Steps: 

Are you tired of being misunderstood or not heard? If so, we have a FREE guide for you.

What you'll discover in this guide:

  • How to Charge Your Batteries (it’s not just for phones)
  • Discerning Someone’s Preferred Language (no foreign language training required)
  • Listening for Their Perception (yep – we each have our own)
  • Battery Charging Others (after all, teamwork makes the dream work)
  • Get Your Message Across to a Group (all communication “channels” matter)

Grab your FREE guide now.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *