All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts
– William Shakespeare, As You Like It

Dramaturgy, the art or technique of dramatic composition and theatrical representation, is a common thread between life, theatre, and believe it or not, leadership. 

Last week we discussed creating an Internal Board of Directors that can assist you in various situations that arise. This week we’ll put a finer point on that discussion with an official title: Dramaturgical Leadership.

Dramaturgical leadership, simply stated, is the realization and willingness to acknowledge, that whatever your title, CEO, VP, Director, Manager, Parent, Doctor, Attorney, etc… you are always playing a role. You are a player on that particular stage.

Adapting to the roles we play is a fundamentally human condition that we experience all the time, without necessarily acknowledging it.

New roles require adaptation. Failing to understand that is failing to fulfill your full expression as a CEO, VP, newly promoted Manager, etc…

Yet many of us reject this idea for fear that “playing a role” will appear false, disingenuous, or inauthentic. 

Dramaturgical Leadership is none of those when performed by asking this ONE QUESTION of yourself.

“What would a GREAT [CEO, VP, Director, Manager, Mom, Doctor, etc…] do in this situation?” 

Before you respond, react, or reply, think in advance about what role is needed for a given situation and practice that part when you’re in that situation.

If you’re unsure, ask yourself:
Who do I admire?
What might they do in this situation?
How can I find out? 

Sometimes we forget that success leaves clues. It’s up to us to realize that many players have played this stage before us.

Making peace with the idea that it’s okay to “act the part” of …. before it becomes your natural response is key to playing the role successfully. 

Being a successful [insert your role here] requires accepting that it is a role to play. Play it well and prepare yourself for rave reviews.