Encountering trouble, facing hardships, and overcoming difficulties is an inevitable part of the life of a leader. It is a natural part of life, but to tackle it well takes intentionality and practice. In improvised comedy, there are three parts to a scene: platform, problem, solution. The platform means ‘setting the scene’ and the problem is the hurdle that the characters have to face – it is essential to making any plot engaging.

The easiest way to overcome a problem in a scene is to invent some ridiculously wacky reason that makes the problem go away, but this is not satisfying for the audience to watch. Neither is wishful thinking in the real world a practical way to overcome difficulties. Although it is harder, the best way to reach the solution in a scene is by thinking about what an unexpected, creative, and also plausible way would be to resolve the problem. I have found this to also be a helpful way to deal with issues as a leader.

So, if you feel you are currently leading in a time of trouble, think about the issue and then look around you. What skills or techniques do you have? What resources are available? What places or people do you know that could help? You might have to be a bit creative, and you might have to rally your followers to go with your solution, but more often than not you will find that you have what you need to lead through trouble.

A big part of this is to have the trust of the people you lead, and to find what brings you confidence. In an improvised comedy show, there are times when we can’t think of the solution to a problem straight away. However, the audience are relaxed and on our side because they can see we aren’t panicking, and they trust that we will find a way to end the scene well. I found my confidence in the people I performed with as well as my own ability, and this meant that the audience trusted me. So, where do you find your confidence? This will help you lead in times of trouble.

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