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The Comedy of Leadership

The Blog



The Comedy of Leadership

Scott Alexander

Leadership is a funny thing.  You can be in a leadership position and not be a good leader.  You can get a degree in leadership and not be a good leader. 

You can have neither of the above and be a great leader!

It’s elusive. 

In a lot of ways Leadership is like comedy...

Some people are just born with it.  We all know that person that can get away with saying anything because they are funny.  Then there’s the person that makes people laugh without even trying.

You can study it but that won’t guarantee you will be good at it.  You can watch the great ones, learn good jokes, study comedic timing - even take classes.  You’ll understand it but, in the end, some people just aren’t funny.

You just know it when you see it.  One person tells a joke with the intention of being funny (but no one laughs) and another person opens his mouth with no intention of being funny (and everyone laughs).  You know funny when you see it but you can’t explain it.

There are different kinds of “funny”.   Intentional jokes; sarcasm; irony; observations; self-deprecating stories – high energy acts, low energy acts, angry acts, silly acts, ventriloquists.  None is “funnier” than the other.  None is better than the other.  All are effective in the right hands.  Most importantly, different people respond to different types.

To be a great comedian, you have to work hard.  We’ve all heard the stories of the great ones having to put in many years of effort to hone their craft.  They may have been born with it, but the hard work is what makes them great.

It is simple in its complexity.  As difficult as comedy is to explain and do, in the end, it’s easy to assess: Are people laughing?

In the end, it’s just part of who you are.  Funny people can’t turn it off – it’s infused into their being. 

Yea – that Leadership sure is a funny thing…