Mark Twain said that “Humour is the great thing, the saving thing after all. The minute it crops up, all our hardnesses yield, all our irritations, and resentments flit away, and a sunny spirit takes their place.” He’s certainly not wrong.
Funny Leaders are Better Leaders
However, a Gallup study reveals that people laugh significantly more on weekends than on weekdays. It also suggests that as people get older, they stop smiling and laughing as frequently.
Do you need to crack jokes in the office? A plethora of studies show that the workplace needs laughter. A case in point: research by Stanford Graduate School of Business professor Jennifer Aaker and lecturer Naomi Bagdonas, indicates that people fall off a “humour cliff” around the time they enter the workforce. This trend, however, when reversed can prove to be extremely valuable.
Humour is an effective and under leveraged superpower in the business world that offers a competitive advantage against peers, higher retention rates of employees as well as allows teams to build innovative solutions and be more resilient to stress.
“A sense of humour is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower
Organisational cultures that incorporate humour are more resilient in stressful situations as it releases oxytocin – a hormone responsible for facilitating social bonding and increasing trust. According to Bagdonas, this social lubricant also makes it “a gateway drug to broader aspects of authenticity and vulnerability.”
This holds 10x truer when the pandemic is upon us. Leaders need to be emotionally connected and cognitively vigilant to their team as working in isolation can be challenging. In these troubling times when we are socially distanced, it’s a real opportunity for leaders to enhance productivity and improve a sense of community in their teams by injecting some laughter into the workplace.
Humour in the workplace can also be both career-enhancing and a powerful social intelligence tool. An oft-citedTweet