Positive humor, which is inclusive and tasteful, is considered an essential trait of great leaders. Now, I’m not recommending you purchase “The Best Joke Book” and memorize hundreds of the funniest jokes, (which the author claims to present in the book). Be authentic and share funny stories naturally. What happened on your way to the meeting? What happened the last time you were a speaker at an event? Think about your life and try to view it through a humor lens. Then, share those humorous moments in appropriate venues at a proper time.
As Richard Branson says, “Some 80% of your life is spent working. You want to have fun at home . . . why shouldn’t you have fun at work?”
3 Ways Humor Will Make You A Great Leader
- You’ll energize people. Notice people’s eyes glazing over or attempting to stifle a yawn when you’re presenting or conducting a staff meeting? That’s a sure sign they’re bored. The definition of boredom is “the state of being weary and restless through lack of interest.” Even if you consider yourself a great orator or an effective team leader, people listening to you may get bored.
Energize them with humor. Start off with a funny story . . . just remember it should be authentic, not a memorized joke. People will be energized, remember what you’re sharing and expect that you’ll share another funny story the next time. They’ll look forward to your presentations and meetings.
- You’ll create a cheerful community. Levity is like a common language. When you share humorous stories, people on your team will also share their funny anecdotes with each other. This creates and reinforces a bond . . . you’re creating and nurturing a cheerful community. And, isn’t it easier to lead happy people than unhappy people?
- You’ll put things in perspective. Sometimes people take a situation too seriously and panic over what they think might not be the “perfect” input. When you make someone laugh, it creates a reasonable view of the situation, especially when your anecdote compares the current situation to something that seems extraordinary. Great leaders help people view themselves and their situations through a lens of relativity.
Humor As A Leadership Tool — While some bosses may be concerned about showing their lighter side, a sense of humor is a valuable asset. The old adage is “people do not leave a company but rather leave a boss.” Humor, appropriately used, diffuses stressful situations, gets folks smiling and creates a positive buzz.
Your humor and ability to maintain levity will make people want to work for you. They’ll also be more confident coming to you when they need help and in times of crisis. In addition, you’ll be more likely to establish your company as an attractive employer and boost retention.
Ready To Tap Into Your Liz Lemon? — On “30 Rock” Liz Lemon wasn’t afraid of anything. There was no task too big or overwhelming for Lemon. In fact, she anticipated when things were going to go wrong and was able to keep her cool . . . while making people laugh.