sparkChief & Co.

Casting Call: Can Your Leaders Pass an Audition?

Ali Kursun
4 min readMar 2, 2020


Determining the best traits possessed by great leaders is akin to discovering what anyone working in the theater field also needs to succeed. Indeed, great leaders are like great actors, who have the ability to play very different roles. On the other hand, ordinary leaders are like ordinary actors, who are limited in their talent and can only accept the same type of roles time after time.

If one considers leadership first from the perspective of acting, then through the broader lens of the entire theatrical arena, specific desirable traits become evident.

Great Leaders Must Play Diverse Roles

Acting requires talent, a flair for exhibiting the personality of the role being offered. The role might involve comedy or drama. Within either genre, the production might require a leading actor or a co-star, or perhaps even a cameo or supporting role. All of these options — and more — require the same ability and talent from a leader. For example:

  • A dramatic role is necessary when leadership must address serious or problematic situations that impact the organisation and its workforce.
  • Leaders should also be able to handle comedic roles by using humor to break the ice or more easily relate to employees and colleagues.
  • Often, the leader is a star, the main actor who holds the organisational glue together, presenting the “face” of the company to the public and stakeholders.
  • A co-star role is also possible, when the leader wishes to step out of the spotlight (or share it) and highlight certain employees who have contributed positively to the company.
  • And finally, cameo or supporting roles make up some of the leader’s activities, whereby the leader decides to step in and out of meetings or projects. In these instances, the leader’s role is to be supportive of whatever the main cast (team) is trying to achieve. The leader is visible when needed, and invisible when not.

Added to these roles is the list of credentials and characteristics that would be desirable on the individual’s resume. Naturally, a key indicator of the leader’s ability is actual and relevant experience in running a successful operation. Other valuable assets…



Ali Kursun

Ali is a thought leader in transformation, change, and workforce strategy. He is the founder of sparkChief & Co. and the author of six books.