According to a Harvard Business Review article, most leadership training is too passive and does not adequately prepare participants for real, potentially high-risk situations that they will likely face. Developing leadership skills, like anything else, requires practice to gain confidence and feel prepared when leader-ing in the wild.
The article states:
"Most leadership trainings are about leadership — teaching ideas, sharing best practices, and increasing knowledge. Successful people rarely become better leaders because they know more. They become better leaders because they follow through on what they know.
Follow-through requires, emotional courage, which is the willingness to feel the hard feelings that come when we take risks, break old patterns, and try new ways of acting. And that is how we become better leaders.
Listening to a lecture doesn’t do it. Even role plays aren’t so useful because they aren’t “real” enough — they might teach us the skills, but they don’t increase our bravery enough to use them in clutch situations. And that’s what matters.
On the other hand, taking risks in “real life,” before you’re ready, comes with potential consequences. Practicing skillful confrontation while you’re still developing your skill, could damage relationships with potentially dire repercussions in your work.
The solution? "Practice in situations where the perceived risk is much higher than the actual risk."
Enter improv. There is nothing more low-risk than playing improv games with colleagues in an event space called the Collaboration Station or the Leader Ship. And while the exercises might seem superficial at first, they allow a safe space to feel vulnerable, take risks, embrace failure, and try again.