Brad's Blurb

Humor in the Workplace

“A sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done.” (Dwight D. Eisenhower)

I recently read a magazine article contending that tasteful, deft, and non-snarky humor in the workplace is a key to organizational success.  The article cited several book authors on the subject and here is what they had to say:

Laura Vanderkam, author of What the Most Successful People Do at Work, wrote, “Humor, by its nature, tends to have an edge to it, so people typically tone it down at work,”  “It’s hard to do well and easy to do badly.  Plus, we all have a tendency to take ourselves too seriously.”

Michael Kerr, author of The Humor Advantage: Why Some Businesses are Laughing all the Way to the Bank says, “In workplaces that encourage people to be themselves—that are less hierarchical and more innovative—people tend to be more open with their humor.”  “Even people who are not always comfortable sharing their humor tend to do so in more relaxed environments where the use of humor becomes second nature with everyone’s style.”  He goes on to say that in some workplaces employees tone down their humor, in order to be taken more seriously.  “Yet, this can backfire as people who take themselves overly seriously are often, ironically, taken less seriously by the people around them.”

Lynn Taylor, author of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant, believes that people tend to be more comfortable using humor with peers than they are with supervisors.  “You face a higher risk factor when joking around with your supervisor because you just don’t know how your lightheartedness will be taken, so there is great reticence to use humor.”  “Many leaders, especially introverts, don’t know how to safely encourage the use of more humor at work and are unsure how to express it in their own leadership style.”

*A recent study on the topic of humor in the workplace found that 91% of executives believe a sense of humor is important for career advancement; while 84% feel that people willing to use their sense of humor do a better job. The two most desirable employee traits indicated were a strong work ethic and a sense of humor.

The article ended with 10 reasons why humor in the workplace is important.

1.       People will enjoy working with you (work shouldn’t be a death march)

2.       Humor is a potent stress buster (laughter relaxes you)

3.       It is humanizing (it helps colleagues come together)

4.       It puts others at ease (it breaks tension barriers)

5.       Ha ha = aha!  (it leads to creative thinking)

6.       It helps build trust (humor removes barriers and builds relationships)

7.       It boosts morale (helps people look forward to work)

8.       “Humorists” are more approachable (leads to more open, successful, and innovative teams)

9.       Humor can allow your staff culture to stand out (people will wonder what cool aid you are drinking and want some too)

10.   It increases productivity (upbeat and positive atmospheres encourage interaction)

So, what do you think?  Thanks for reading.    Regards, Brad

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