Liberatory Leadership Playground: Recapture Play Synthesis.

What do we mean by "recapture play"?

  • This is about recapturing the joy in our lives. We should have fun doing this work because we are on the right side of history (inspired by Loretta Ross). This is an essential component of liberation. 

Why do we need to recapture play at work?

  • Individual level: Some kids, maybe some of us, had to grow up faster, weren’t allowed to be our whole selves as a kid, or were asked to take on more responsibilities than we were probably ready for. If your inner child misses out on some play, it’s time to recapture it.
  • Organizational level: Play in the workplace is about unbinding ourselves from rigid notions of what it means to be a “professional.” 
  • Systems level: Our system views children of color, and particularly Black children, as older than they are with serious consequences to follow, like sexual assault, early discipline in schools, incarceration, and even police brutality and murder. If you do systems change work with clients/participants of color, play is one way to invite joy and full flourishing, as well as healing from our systems. 

How to capture play at work?

  • Understand where you have autonomy. This is related to one of the rules we named in “Seriously, Play” around consent: 
      • Your time – lunches, breaks, before you start your day or as you end. Do you play basketball at lunch breaks or a game on your phone? What brings you energy and joy during these breaks?
      • As a facilitator of a meeting – build in some fun check-ins like the questions game we played at “Seriously, Play,” where the only rule is you can only ask questions to each other. 
      • As a contributor to strategic planning – add play to your strategy or theory of change. For LLC, one of our core strategies for our organization is to “create space for experimentation, practice & play.”
  • As a people leader, model, and build-in play into your check-ins, team building, and strategic meetings. When you have complex questions that require creativity and non-binary 
  • Play is not for all the time: When you need to get in the zone and chill, try mindfulness, meditation, calming music, journaling, getting off Zoom and walking and talking, and finding nature.
  • Try it out: Play helps us communicate better. We played a quick and easy game of Taboo during this session. Here are the rules and words that you can play with your team as well: “Taboo” Rules 2023 Play series
  • Try it out: Gamify some learnings or tasks. We built a mini online puzzle game to encourage people to read the definitions of race equity and racial justice, among other things. Click here to play or share with your team:  Clue 1: LL Playground. Click Around and Find Out Game.
  • Read more: The Fun Habit: How the Pursuit of Joy and Wonder Can Change Your Life.

View the full recording of the webinar: Session 2| Liberatory Leadership Playground