Act Like A Leader, Lead Like An Actor

The key to being a great actor is to be yourself.  Acting is not about impersonation, it is about originality.  The same concept holds true in the business world.  As a leader, the most important attribute you can bring to your job is your authenticity.  There is no one else like you in the world and that is what makes each of us special and different.  Too many people spend their working lives trying to be like someone else or adjusting their personality and approach to “fit in”. 

I recently attended a workshop that was led by a top Hollywood casting agent.  He was imparting advice to young actors. He had three key points.


1) Be yourself. Acting is about showing a freshness and originality.  Casting directors seek out people who are different, that bring something new to the camera or the stage.  The best actors can take on the persona of the character while maintaining their own personality.  That is what makes for a great actor.

2) Actors spend most of their careers auditioning. Really they should be called auditioners, rather than actors.  To be in show business you must love to audition.  There are very few actors who don’t have to audition because they are sought out.

3) Even the most famous actors are continually refining their craft. The top Hollywood actors continue to take classes and to work with acting coaches throughout their careers.  A thirst for learning and trying new approaches is the key to a long and successful acting career.

After the workshop, I spoke with the casting agent and told him that his advice regarding acting was quite similar to the advice that I give to my coaching clients.  He told me that if he was not a casting agent, he would have liked to
have pursued a career like mine as an executive coach.  He too saw the parallels between his advice for actors and my advice for business leaders.

I am confident

To be successful as a business leader following the casting agent’s advice would serve you well. 

Be yourself.  Leadership is very much about authenticity and originality.  The best leaders are those who are self-aware and use their unique strengths to their advantage.

Too many people spend their working lives trying to be like someone else or adjusting their personality and approach to “fit in”. 

Life is a series of auditions.  If you treat your job as an audition, then you will focus on always giving your best effort in a business setting.  You never know when a performance at a meeting might open new doors and opportunities.  Being complacent in your job is the enemy of progress.  Focusing on pushing yourself to try new things and to put yourself in new situations is where the most growth and development occurs.

Be a life-long learner.  A thirst for knowledge and learning should never be fully quenched if you hope to excel in business.  Even the best leaders are life-long learners.  They pursue additional classroom learning, work with an executive coach and read business books. 

As you can see the parallels between success as an actor and a business leader are very clear.  Whether your craft is acting or leading a business the same advice holds true.