When you consider all the benefits of a healthy sense of humor at work (for example, see the Forbes article, 10 Reasons Why Humor Is A Key To Success) and surveys such as the Bell Leadership Institute’s study which found that a sense of humor was considered the most important characteristic of a leader (along with a strong work ethic), then is it time to consider humor a core competency for effective leadership?
Keep in mind, I’m not talking about being funny or having Seinfeld-like comedic skills. I’m talking rather about the global, broader definition of humor: the ability to recognize the absurdities and incongruities that flitter by us each day, the ability to laugh at ourselves and roll with the punches, and the ability to quite simply and bluntly – not take ourselves so bloody seriously!
Leaders, after all, are like the orchestra conductors in a workplace culture: their attitude leadership style largely determines the tone that is felt throughout the workplace. And since we know humor can help make leaders appear more attractive and approachable, and that the effective use of humor helps build trust at work, not to mention the role humor plays in dampening stress, sparking creativity and improving communication, then why wouldn’t we consider it a core competency?
If you value humor enough, and you place a premium on building a positive, inspiring workplace culture, then there’s no reason not to get serious about encouraging humor within your leadership ranks. Which means, as with any other core competency, workplaces must:
1. Hire for humor.
2. Train for humor. (Look at the impact humor training has had on the communication company Peppercomm)
3. Create a culture that supports and fosters humor in the entire leadership team and throughout the entire organization.
After all, if you want to get serious about creating a remarkable culture, one that will drive outrageous results, you better get laughing!
Michael Kerr is a very funny motivational speaker and an international business speaker who speaks on workplace culture. www.Mike Kerr.com
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