On any given night at a comedy club in New York, (pre-Corona of course), you will see stand-ups – the good, the bad, the ugly. Some have original lines, but need work on their delivery. Others great timing, but you’ve heard the jokes before. Some bomb and you can hear the audience groan, others are on a roll.
But every so often, if you are lucky, you will see a famous stand-up, a celebrity comedian who has their own TV show, who can sell out stadiums, come back to the comedy club to where it all started. They want to test out new material to see if it lands – they are not just looking for cheers, they are willing to accept the jeers to get better. They are willing to STAND UP.
I’ve been coaching high-ranking executives for over a decade now and the Achilles' heel I have witnessed in most of them is their isolation from the audiences that made them who they are. The higher they get, they tend to surround themselves with people who only cheer. Either the hierarchical structures or their own emotions don’t allow for honest feedback.
Making yourself vulnerable, staying in dialogue with whoever your audience is, using feedback as data for your decisions is what leadership is all about.
Leaders of today, STAND UP.