Leaders, Laugh It UP!!


Leaders have a tremendous responsibility all the time. At any given moment, the decisions, behaviors, and attitudes they display affect outcomes, get scrutinized, and set an example to be emulated.

Leadership is hard work, and if one is not careful they can get so drawn into results, urgencies, and deadlines that stress can takes it’s toll on not only the leader themselves, but their teams and the entire company.

There has been much written about work-life balance and having a passion for your work, and rightfully so, as the need to stay balanced is crucial to your leadership longevity. Yet even a proper work-life balance can get to be stressful and grinding.

So, why not let loose and laugh it UP every so often?

When the topic of humor in the workplace is addressed, some leaders feel they will loose their example, credibility, and effectiveness if they engage in humor or fun at work. And in today’s work environment, one does need to be cautious with the type of fun to be had, as inappropriate humor can be deemed as harassment and other offensive behavior.

But some of the most effective leaders are ones who can laugh and make work fun and enjoyable for themselves and others.

Here’s some examples of what workplace laughter can do:

  • Relive tension
  • Break down barriers
  • Ice breakers in new teams and settings
  • Make time go faster
  • Stimulates creativity and innovation
  • Makes work more engaging and productive
  • Soften the blow of bad news
  • Build trust and relationships
  • Provide perspective

While you may think that the most successful leaders don’t have time for humor, consider these examples:

Herb Kelleher, founder and former CEO of Southwest Airlines. His humorous style invigorated a stale industry and his company ran 24 consecutive years of turning profits. His second core value – Have Fun And Make A Difference was the staple for all he did. His company was fun to work for, and his customers experienced it as well.

John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan are both remembered for their wit, and how they could use it to diffuse criticism or difficult situations. They both used their humor to bridge the gaps with their constituents, the media, and their detractors.

Someone I know started a new position as director for a large university’s foodservice department. The department had been run poorly and the complaints on the food were chronic. His first day, he attended the weekly meeting with the other departments. He was introduced, and promptly greeted, by a woman who tossed a slice of toast that was burnt on one side. When asked “And what are you going to do about THIS?”, he quickly replied, “I’m not sure of the solution, but I can tell you we’re halfway there.” Instantly, the tension was gone and the staff knew they had the right person to handle the job.

Laugh it UP at work. It’s a low cost way to bust up the workplace. (Comment if you get that pun…)

Have a humorous workplace leadership story to share? Share and spread the fun below!!

(image: morguefile/grafixar)



About Paul LaRue

My goal - To encourage you to lead & influence others with positive impact.

Posted on April.12.2015, in Leadership. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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