The number one question I get: What do you do about the “fun suckers?”
The fun-sucking, soul-sucking, crap-all-over-you employees that carp about everything, have no sense of humor and never want to participate in fun activities at work.
My first thought always goes back to being proactive and reminding people that those kind of employees should likely have never been hired in the first place! The old rule of hire for attitude and train for aptitude, goes a long ways towards ensuring you don’t end up with negative people that only serve as an anchor around your team’s neck.
So having said that, if you want to promote more humor in the workplace, then you sometimes need to sell everyone, not just the boss, on the benefits of using more humor at work, and you may need to coach the fun suckers.
If you talk about their attitude with them, it is almost certain to backfire on you because they will get very defensive, and because attitude is so subjective.
But if you talk about observable behavior, and talk them about how you feel or what you’ve seen, it becomes far more objective and less personal.
Focus on desired behaviors, the negative consequences of them not changing and the positive benefits of them changing.
And failing that, ignore them! Seriously. Too many people and workplaces use the bottom dwellers to bring everyone else down and use them as an excuse to not try new things.
My rule of thumb: give everyone equal opportunity to do fun things, but don’t make it a requirement.
Ignore the bottom 10% and focus on the top 10% to achieve great things in your workplace.
For the video version of this message go here! Humor in the workplace – Ignore the Fun Suckers!
Michael Kerr, Humor at Work – The Way Work OUGHT to Be!
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Richard Dansereau, President, NAPA Autopro BDG
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