Leaders like to be the smartest people in the room. Problem is, the less-smart people tend to shut down out of deference or fear. Innovation, risk-taking, and morale take hits.
Dan M. Klein, a Stanford professor who divides his time between the university's business school and drama department, teaches leaders to infuse creativity and trust into their companies by wielding the tools of improv comedy. He's shown that techniques that troupes like Second City and Upright Citizens Brigade use to get laughs can also help workforces build on ideas, reimagine failure, and deepen bonds. Here is a sampling.