"There is little success where there is little laughter." ~Andrew Carnegie

“A well-developed sense of humor is the pole that adds balance to your steps as you walk the tightrope of life.” ~William Arthur Ward

In your day to day work life you are constantly beset by troubles and challenges. If you are not too careful your job becomes serious at best, and tedious at worst. It is for this reason that every great leader has the ability to use humor at correct moments to get more out of their team. This can come to pass by laughing at your own mistakes, making light of the troubles you face, or simply sharing humorous stories from the weekend.

As a leader you have the ability and responsibility to shape your department and organization at any time. I can think of no better time to insert humor than when things get stressful, but it is welcome by your team at any time. And beyond blowing off steam, there are a number of very constructive reasons to let a little humor into your department:

  • Approachability – By engaging with your staff in a lighthearted way, you increase your approachability which is necessary for you to be up to date on challenges and successes in the department.
  • Creativity – Humor breaks up the monotony and gets our minds out of the rut we find ourselves in when doing our daily tasks. It is these breaks in thinking that often lead to new ideas and solutions.
  • Reduces Stress – It’s hard to be stressed out when you’re laughing, and stress in the workplace is no good for morale, health or teamwork.
  • Increases Productivity – If you’re having fun at work, your tasks tend to flow quicker and with more precision. As a leader, you’re also apt to have less turnover if your staff is enjoying themselves.

One thing that I have instituted recently in an effort to insert a little humor into the day is a daily joke (a clean joke) that I e-mail to the staff in the middle of the day. I think sending it in the middle of the day is the best way to get the most out of the points listed above. This direct approach works well for my team, for others it may be just as much about displaying a humorous demeanor at the right time.

Regardless of the approach you take, I hope you will seriously consider the importance of at least a little laughter in the workplace, I know you’ll find it beneficial.