Humor at Work is No Band Aid Solution

I cringe, yes, physically cringe,  when I hear stories of people misusing humor in the workplace. The most cringe-inducing stories for me are the ones where people do hokey, gimmicky type things as a temporary band-aid solution.

I cringe, because often it’s the equivalent of adding happy face wall papering over top a crumbling 1950’s bungalow, that really should have been demolished a long time ago.

Okay, that’s a tad harsh.

Maybe not demolished.

But here’s the deal. We’ve got to think of humor at work as not just a tool, but the end result of working in a fabulously inspiring workplace.  Using humor as a band-aid solution backfires every time, and can actually LOWER morale if employees view it as a cynical, manipulative, short term gesture designed to temporarily motivate the masses.

So everything, at least in my books, goes back to the basics.

Create an inspiring vision. Value your workplace values.  Lead instead of follow. Communicate open and honestly and passionately.  Show, don’t just tell, employees that you respect them, trust them and value them.   Foster a spirit of unbridled creativity at work.  Recognize and reward the positive attitudes and behaviors you want to see more of.

Build the kind of workplace where people want to be on a Monday morning.  Build the kind of workplace where people want to be loyal, where they want to share their ideas and passion and energy.

Build THAT kind of workplace, and the fun will follow.

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