Motivation in the Theatre and in the Workplace

  • Share
  • CevherShare
  • Share

by Sophia Mayberry

edited by Derya Kaya  and Samantha Davis

“Motivation, a character’s reason for doing or saying things in a play.”

I was a complete theatre nerd in high school. I did it all! I took the classes, I competed in the competitions and I was in all the plays. Motivation is one of the things you are judged or graded on in high school theatre.

In order to get a high score or grade in the motivation category you must convince the audience of the motivation behind all of your actions. This can be tricky because it is often the subtext or the story behind every aspect of the scene.

For example, if in a scene a character avoids shaking hands with everyone every time that situation comes up that actor needs to make it clear the reason he/she is doing that. It might not come up in a scene that you are nervous about germs or have a broken hand you have yet to bandage but the audience still needs to know that.

Maybe that actor choses to rub his/her hands together or hold one hand limp in the other; there are choices the actor can make that could show the audience the motivation behind the character avoiding hand shakes.

What does this have to do with leadership?

As a leader, being transparent about your motivations with the people you lead is important. If you can convey the motivation behind your actions to the people you lead they have a greater understanding of the leaders and their purpose within the organization as a whole.

This is not as much about big decisions but smaller things like the reason behind meetings and/or being personal and personable with the people you lead.

If you call a weekly meeting and you insist on the meeting having the same structure every week tell the people you lead why. If you are overly organized, or insist on being copied on every email, or prefer to have an office of organized chaos, tell the people you lead why!

When the people you lead can see your motivations as a leader, then they understand you and their purpose in the workplace better.

4 Comments on “Motivation in the Theatre and in the Workplace”

  1. I like that you take motivation back to the context of the theater, and relate it to the necessity of being transparent as a leader. I agree that it is important for followers to understand the motivations of their leader in order to be lead properly. We all want to understand what’s going on, and people don’t like to blindly follow someone who just happens to want to be a leader. I bet that being in theater has taught you to recognize the need for motivation, and the lack of it, more than most of the people around you.

    Also – love the comic!

  2. I think that, as you say, transparency about your motivations is very important in leadership. There are people that may think that being 100% transparent is not possible, but to me extent, I believe being transparent to some degree is something to strive to.

    1. Transparency like balance can never be achieved 100% but like you say it is definitely something to strive for!

Comments are closed.