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Learning The Art of Improvisation For Leadership

Beyond the conventional debates that often take up space when we think about Leadership Development, active exercises like role-playing and business war-gaming offer immersive experiences, propelling leaders beyond leadership theory. Embracing improvisation creates a safe space for experimentation and feedback, fostering the development of new behavioral habits. Notably, it cultivates leadership vulnerability, a key asset proven to enhance authenticity and trust.

Breaking Free from Verbal Constraints: The Improvisation Advantage

Too often, when we sit around the table talking strategy, or workshopping our skills as leaders, it's too easy to get lost in theory, hypothetical scenarios, and to find ourselves swimming in words with little action. Improvisation is a useful exercise for figuring out who you are as a leader, how you really respond on your feet, and building practical skills to develop those areas to make you a better decision maker in the moment.

You can gain a fresh perspective on leadership development by breaking free from theoretical confines. Active exercises such as role-playing unseen scenarios, or war-gaming big business challenges, propel you beyond verbal debates, offering an immersive experience. Uncover how these exercises stimulate an emotional connection, providing a tangible foundation for introspection and behavioral change.

From Learning Experience to Applicable Leadership Wisdom

Improvisation exercises can form the bridge between a momentary learning experience and applicable leadership insights. You may, for some time, have wanted to adopt a different leadership model for yourself, but you find yourself falling back into comfortable habits and behaviours when the time comes. Often it takes the practical experience of trying out the new theory, technique or communication style  influence leadership styles to know how it will feel to put them into action. Improvisation provides a safe space in which to do that experimentation, and even to receive feedback which can help form new behavioural habits. 

Embracing Vulnerability: A Leadership Asset

Another crucial benefit of improvisation is that it often acts as a forcible push outside of one's comfort zone. Witness the impact of improvisation on leadership vulnerability. A study by the Harvard Business Review found that leaders who show vulnerability are perceived as more authentic, approachable, and trustworthy, which leads to greater employee engagement and productivity. 

By providing a no-stakes environment in which the typical leadership persona of control and invulnerability can be put aside helps leaders embrace vulnerability, thereby fostering authentic self-reflection, a critical component for effective leadership.

Light Bulb Moments: Transformative Leadership Realisations

The feedback time and again is that these exercises lead to light bulb moments—profound realisations that reshape leadership perspectives. As well as developing the skill of improvisation, which makes people more agile and confident on their feet, it also provides real insight into the often unconscious impact of our words, posture, and body language on those we speak to. Improvisation can act as a mirror, prompting self-awareness and inspiring enduring changes in leadership approach.

Elevate Your Leadership with Microlearning

Ready to harness the synergy of improvisation and leadership development? Dive into microlearning lessons at to continue your leadership evolution. This blog, inspired by the London Business School, invites you to explore a wealth of microlearning opportunities and discover the transformative impact of improvisation on leadership brilliance.


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