Leading Well: The Power of “Yes!”

Your day is filled with improvisational behaviors, even though you may not recognize it.

For example, there’s no script for spilling your coffee on your way to work.

There isn’t a plan for beginning your day by having an encounter with a grumpy client.

Of course, the improvising you do isn’t only in response to negative situations.

You may unexpectedly be asked to join a team and work on a project with people you haven’t worked with yet.

The way you choose to handle these scenarios in the moment is improvisation.

The same qualities that make a person a good improviser are also beneficial traits for a leader to possess.

Characteristics like flexibility, humor and positivity go a long way.

So, how else can these improvisational behaviors be used to drive performance?

The answer may surprise you.

Just say “Yes!”

From beginner to novice

If this is a difficult idea for you to wrap your mind around, don’t worry – improvisational behavior can be learned.

Have you ever seen an improv comedy troupe perform?

When one person throws something out there, the others in the group don’t plant their feet, cross their arms and say, “I’m not doing this!”

They roll with it.

The same should be true in your work environment. The simple act of saying, “Yes,” opens up possibilities for people.

Keep in mind, it’s not a commitment to do something, it’s a commitment to consider ideas.


Tweet this:

“When you let people know that all ideas are valid, they will translate it to mean that they are valid.  #ImprovTips”


When your mindset is that every idea is valid, what you’re saying is that every person is valid.

You want employees to be engaged in their work and to do their best because they choose to.

When their ideas are met with agreement, they will continue to engage – even if the idea doesn’t work out in the end.

Saying “Yes” should be a reflex for a good leader!

Decide that the next time you’re presented with a new idea, your answer will be “Yes!”

This article is 100% written by a human named Karen Hough. She is the Founder & CEO of ImprovEdge, in the top 4% of women-owned businesses in the US, a 3-time Amazon bestselling author, Yale grad, wife and mom of three.