Five Reasons To Add Playfulness to Your Leadership

Think back to when you were a child and how easy it was to just play. Can you remember what it felt like to join in a game with other children? It didn’t matter if you were the strongest player or even if you understood all the rules perfectly. It probably wasn’t even important who was participating. It was a game and as far as you were concerned it was fun. Some of you may have enjoyed playing with your toys, immersing yourself deeply into a world of imagination. In the beautiful childhood story of The Velveteen Rabbitthe rabbit had worn threads from being loved so much. That was a testament to how much the rabbit was played with as well as the intensity that the child interacted with the sweet stuffed animal.

Now imagine what it might be like to add the element of playfulness to our leadership. How might we feel differently when interacting with others? What could the workplaces look like? What might change in the way leaders see themselves? What if being playful was the greatest of all superpowers?

Here are five reasons to add playfulness to your leadership:

1. During Play Imaginations Are Unleashed

Leaders first experienced play in childhood and boy did that make us see things through a different lens. While we were playing we had fun and that led to the expanding who we were. We could become that great pirate or queen or purple jaguar. Our imaginations were given the green light to run wild and we did. So too in our leadership, we can unleash our imagination by adding the element of play.

When we add playfulness to our leadership, we unleash our imaginations.CLICK TO TWEET

2. Through Play We Relax and Breathe

Another great benefit to including play into our leadership is it allows leaders to step back from everyday routines and take a pause. What’s so important about changing up our hectic schedules and grind?

  • When leaders relax they can see things that were not available to them before.
  • When leaders breathe they can center themselves and breathe new life into their bodies.
  • Through play, leaders get the opportunity to “just be”.

3. Playfulness Is At The Heart of Innovation

Remember creating the biggest sandcastle or constructing a large Lego building? That form of play empowered us to innovate without rules or borders. The same concept can happen in our professional and personal lives. When leaders play, they throw away their self-limiting beliefs of what they know to be the tried and true way of doing things. The result can be over the top innovations.

4. Play Involves Both Our Body and Mind

Here is an interesting part of play- it involves both our bodies and minds. It may not seem obvious to many leaders, but our bodies give us great information about how we are feeling and what we need to do. When we lead with an element of playfulness, we are also using our bodies as resources to make decisions. Connect with your mind and body during play by asking yourself:

  • What is happening in my body at this moment? Am I feeling tense or joyful?
  • What is my body telling me about my job situation?
  • What steps do I need to mindfully take when I am feeling this stress or anger?

5. Playing Is Human

Finally, when leaders cultivate a culture of playfulness, they create an interconnected way of interacting. Whether we are in-person or remote, we can add humor and lightness to any situation. Make a crazy project even crazier. Laugh about all the things that are going wrong. Through play you will most certainly bring out your best self and figure out what’s important to you and how you want to proceed.

Partnering with a coach who is trained in embodiment and playfulness can open up so many possibilities for you. Are you curious? Let’s set up a time to connect.

How can playfulness grow your leadership?

Related: Swing Into Your Best September Leadership