Teamwork is the cornerstone of many aspects of our lives, but how did you learn to be a team player? With the exception of my stint playing soccer in middle school, my youth was spent hearing things like “eyes on your own paper class,” and “this is NOT a group project people,” or signing honor pledges.
But at work, it’s important to be a “team player”. What does that mean?
A leader who is focused on teamwork gives others due credit for their hard work, doesn’t hog the spotlight, tries to find the best way to use each player to their best ability for the team AND the team-members personal growth, and KNOWS that each individual member of a properly functioning team is critical to the success of the project.
So how does this relate to improv?
In improv, we learn not to hog the spotlight but rather have each other’s backs in a scene or show. If the spotlight “finds” a scene partner and a funny moment is unfolding, good teammates know this is an opportunity to foster that smoldering ember until it bursts into raging laughter. But fostering a smoldering ember is a tricky thing; you have to provide the right conditions - plenty of air circulation, but not enough to snuff the budding flame. You must feed the flame, without smothering it. And if you can balance it just right, you have helped magic happen in front of your very eyes.
And yes, you may or may not be the star of this particular scene, but next time, you may be found by the spotlight and you can bet your team has your back.
Virginia Epperly has been tripping the light fantastic as a Minor League Player at ComedySportz® since 2015.