Lunchtime Links: Comedy’s Role in Leadership

How one big-name CEO, Twitter's Dick Costolo, got his roots in improv. Also: A debate post-mortem.

Is the way to solid leadership through a good joke? Depends on who you ask, but it’s not an unheard-of concept. And at least one big-time chief executive got to his perch through a little comedy.

People have Plato’s form in their mind of what a leader is, or what a CEO is, and it is a bunch of elements that I really don’t conform to at all.

That and more in today’s Lunchtime Links:

Is comedy a key to leadership? If so, Twitter’s CEO, Dick Costolo might be proof. Over the weekend, The New York Times published a piece regarding Costolo’s roots. He got into entrepreneurship via improvisational comedy and still carries that background with him. “People have Plato’s form in their mind of what a leader is, or what a CEO is, and it is a bunch of elements that I really don’t conform to at all,” Costolo told the NYT’s Nick Bilton. “I’ve given this a lot of thought, and I came to the conclusion that I don’t care.” The piece is a must-read, with fascinating leadership lessons.

Lessons from the debate: We might have covered the pre-debate lead-up last week, but BusyEvent’s Brian Slawin has you hooked up for the post-debate lessons, many of which are relevant for conference-runners. A lot of good ones (smirking = bad), but our favorite is: “Make sure that if you hire a host or speaker for your event, that they have control of the situation and won’t let the audience take over.” Jim Lehrer could have used that advice. And don’t forget: There are still three more to go!

Don’t be afraid to pursue: Tom Morrison, the CEO of the Metal Treating Institute and an active public speaker, continues his ongoing “Power of P” series with the importance of pursual: “Don’t let distractions or time wasters keep you from achieving your dream … eliminate them, go for your dreams, and execute your life plan you have built!” What endeavors have you pursued lately?

Stay in charge from the passenger’s seat: Even if you aren’t in charge at your organization, you can still approach your job like a leader, according to Quality Insider bloggers Christina Tangora Schlachter and Terry Hildebrandt. “If you are not in a position to formally influence the change,” they suggest, “instead of trying to create a leadership role, take the opportunity to change your own attitude, behaviors, and beliefs.” They also suggest that a key role you could play is one of influence.

Not a leader but want to be one? If so, what have you done to help get into the leadership mindset? Tell us in the comments.

(TMG archive photo)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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