The idea of “humor in the workplace” shouldn’t be a tough sell. At least, not in theory. Not when you appreciate what truly creates a great organization. And not when you realize that humor in the workplace truly is an underappreciated tool or resource that can so effectively help employees manage stress at work, spark creative thinking, improve communication, improve customer service and build stronger, more trusting work relationships. One need look no further than a Southwest Airlines or Zappos.com to see how humor can even help brand an organization in a unique way.
But of course it’s more than just a tool, humor in the workplace is the end result of working in a truly inspiring, successful workplace, which means the level of humor at work is also a valid indicator of success, or at least ought to be.
In fact, having researched this topic for 20 years, and having researched what makes a great workplace great, I’ve come to the conclusion that leaders who don’t get that humor in the workplace is an important workplace value, simply don’t get what it takes to lead an organization of people, and what it takes to create a truly inspiring, innovative, successful workplace.
It’s not a choice between fun OR work, we need to sell the idea that it’s a choice for fun AND work.
And as I say to my clients: EVEN if adding more humor into your workplace doesn’t translate into some of the benefits that I know it will, what would you rather have, everything be the same as it is now, with less fun? Or everything equal, but more fun?
When you look at it that way, then I really don’t understand why humor in the workplace needs to be a tough sell!
Michael Kerr, 2010, Humor at Work, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.humoratwork.com
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