The morale of your team is your responsibility; 100%.

Be it project or production team, theatrical company, small or large business or corporation. This is the one place where Trickle Down is most acutely accurate: it all comes from the Top.

We are making magic for our audiences; creating experiences that tell stories, engage and compel, draw people in and open their hearts and imaginations, taking them to another place, another world, where physics are irrelevant and magic is possible, where Imagination rules.

(If the above strikes you as crazy, then you are definitely in the wrong business…)

So, unless the mission of your team is strictly Strindberg, a workplace without lightness, levity and laughter will quite simply undermine the vision – and diminish the effectiveness of your product or production – in both subtle and tangible ways.

As Leaders, it is our responsibility to see to it that everyone on our teams enjoys the work s/he is doing; that the late nights and weekends that inevitably become the rule rather than the exception are embraced out of enthusiasm, passion and commitment, not through obligation or fear.

We want Energy; positive and upbeat. We want action; proactive and productive. We want an atmosphere of buoyant, confident exploration and innovative problem solving.

You want an amazing product? Nurture a strong sense of camaraderie and Team. That must come from Leadership. That is Leadership.

It saddens me when I encounter a “Creative” workplace that is quiet and somber; where people are afraid to venture their opinions for fear of reprisal or retribution, or simply being ignored. I see this more than I’d like, and I believe I can see the result in lackluster work from environments such as this.

Yes: this is a business. Show Business.

Note that the first word is “show” – it isn’t “the business of show” – and Show is the most important component. Show comes from passion, creativity, commitment, vision and drive. The better our show, the better our business. The better our Show, the more the Marketing Department has to sell, the better word of mouth, the more repeat business, the more kids will come away with eyes alight…and this latter is at the heart of what we are lucky enough to be doing for a living.

Do we not want our audiences to Love It? Then, we’d better be Loving the Process by which we get there.

Simply put: if laughter is not regularly heard in your workplace, something’s wrong. If people walk around with brows knit and eyes downcast; y’all gots trouble.

How to address this?


Know and acknowledge your people. Let them know that you and they are on the Same Team; and that you are aware that the Captain of the Team does not score all the points.

It is imperative that the leader know the members of the team as more than simply the offices they fill or titles each holds. These people come to the team for a reason, a personal reason, and it is the mandate of the Leader to know from whence the passion of each member arises.

Passion for our work is vital.

A leader who does not know the names of every team member and what brings that person to this job is letting down all stakeholders in a given project, mission or job…and that includes the audience with which you are hoping to fill your seats and queues.

Know your people, your team. Know who they are; what inspires and impassions them.

Meet their eyes as you pass in the hallway and never forsake the opportunity to simply say “hello.” (I don’t really have to tell you this, do I?)

Creative and otherwise, human beings need to know they are seen and heard. If you want the best from your team, they must feel valued, acknowledged and welcome to contribute, even outside an official realm of responsibility.

As Leader, one must take most seriously the responsibility of seeing each person on your team and of being open and creating the opportunity to Hear them. Truly, one never knows where the next good idea, the most creative solution, the best potential for growth and ROI will originate.

Be sure to know everyone on your team. There is brilliance, there, that you very well may not yet know. Brilliance, value and inspiration.

Nurture it.

That’s our job. We are lucky to have it. Embrace the opportunity to be inspired by your teams as you seek to inspire them. ‘Tis a rare and wonderful opportunity, and will yield results in the hundredfold.



BTW: The eBook, “IMHO” is a free download from the iTunes and iBooks store…it contains discussions and explanations of the methodologies and applications of same for the creation of compelling experiences applicable to all storytelling approaches. Feel free: it’s free!

One thought on “LEADERSHIP IS emPOWERment

  1. KO – I couldn’t agree more. The team concept in business is often referred to, but rarely adopted to the extent that it should be, IMHO. I believe the parallels of pro sports are great to use as a comparision because pro-sports shows how the delegation of power trickles down the chain and helps build the team…take the NFL as an example and see how we can compare roles to the world of business entertainment:

    1 – The NFL Billionaire Owner = The Chairman
    • Sets the direction, is the visionary
    • Provides the resources necessary to succeed
    • Identifies and recruits the leaders to execute his vision
    • Opens doors across industries
    • Negotiates the ‘big deals’
    • Demands excellence
    • Knows his personnel’s strengths and creates the vision around these
    • Knows his organizational weaknesses, and tries to minimize their impact
    2 – The GM = The CEO
    • Sets the mission, the plan to victory or success
    • Develops the organizational philosophy & culture
    • Builds a strong front office team
    • Understands the business side of the operation
    • Understands the X’s and O’s of the game
    • Knows his personnel, gives them confidence to execute
    • Makes tough decisions
    • Acquires talent to fit the vision OR revises the vision based on his talent (in some cases)
    • Is at the centre of all operations
    3 – The Head Coach = The VP
    • Puts together the game plan based on the strengths of his squad
    • Draws the X’s and O’s
    • Motivates, inspires performance, brings the team together
    • Knows the opponent, plans to expose their weaknesses
    • Defines roles for all his team, from stars to role players
    • Let’s his coaching staff coach
    • Brings together all aspects of the game (offense, defense, special teams)
    • Knows when/where to micro-manage
    • Disciplines when his team veers off the path
    • Rewards performance, recognizes contributions
    • Answers to the media, answers to the fans
    4 – The Coordinators = The Directors
    • Teachers, motivators, tacticians, and technicians
    • The hands-on people that make the players better each day
    • Assess game film, assess player performances
    • Assign tasks and roles based on players strengths
    • Ensure everyone knows where to be on the field of play
    • Calls the plays, ensures the team is prepared
    • Defines schemes, assigns positions for players based on the schemes
    • Ensures all players know the playbook
    5 – The Players = The Managers
    • The people that make it happen
    • In the line of fire, on the field of play
    • Play within themselves
    • Know their responsibilities and roles
    • Know the play book, know their position
    • Play unselfishly to ensure success
    • Have a ‘one play at a time’ attitude
    • Don’t look past their individual opponent
    • Don’t get over confident when they win, too low when they lose
    • Are accountable, take the good with the bad
    • Perform / thrive under pressure
    • The backbone of the entire team
    6- The Fans = The Guests / Visitors
    • Proponents and opponents
    • Demand excellence
    • Loyal beyond belief (unless they are double-crossed)
    • Ambassadors of the team, players, the game overall
    • Bleed team colors
    • The team’s lifeblood, reason for being
    • Want to stay informed, kept in the loop
    • Hungry to feel part of the experience
    • Will journey for miles to watch their team battle
    • Will bring friends along for the ride
    • Can be spiteful, can turn on the team
    • Opinionated, always have something to tell you

    Sorry for the long winded comment!!!! I couldn’t help it and got a bit carried away. 🙂

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