Method acting, leadership, and improving your life, from James Lipton

October 25, 2013 by Joshua
in Art, Blog, Education, Leadership

I’ve written before about the television show Inside the Actors Studio and how much the young field of leadership training could stand to learn from the longstanding field of acting training.

Below is an interview of the host of Inside the Actors Studio, James Lipton, describing the transformation acting training went through with Constantine Stanislavsky. Leadership training stands to benefit from similar changes, and that field inspires me to help those changes.

As he described it, about a century ago acting replaced impressing others with expressing yourself, the goal of perfection with authenticity, self-reference and self-reverence with a system of exercises, focus on the external with focus on the internal, making yourself up with seeking truth, well-rehearsed lines with believing what you’re saying. Everybody on the stage cared about everything in the performance.

David Chappelle picked up on acting’s emotional content and how acting training connects you with your emotions.

Is it not obvious how important and useful a similar transformation would be for leadership? How many people seem to seek leadership positions to impress others, to create self-reverence, to seek money, power, and fame as opposed to authentically caring about the goals of the team and community? I’m not suggesting leaders learn acting, but that we learn from that transformation and apply what worked and is relevant to leadership training. And to recognize that leaders can feel motivated to lead the same way actors feel motivation to act — from internal passion greater than just money, though some widely recognized effective ones may get both. Then to expect that people acting on that motivation will lead more effectively than ones who need to get paid a lot.

Who doesn’t want leaders who care about their work, their communities, their teams? Are you also inspired to see the training, practice, and field of leadership move toward realism, emotional awareness and expressiveness, and caring? And to help with that change?

This is what I’m doing. Please contact me if you want to help or know more.

Plus Dave Chappelle is funny.

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1 response to “Method acting, leadership, and improving your life, from James Lipton

  1. Pingback: Leadership lessons from method acting | Joshua Spodek

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