Humor in the workplace has been found to increase both productivity and results.

It’s linked with our emotional intelligence competencies, and according to Daniel Goleman, (EQ author/expert):

Research on humor at work reveals that a well-timed joke or playful laughter can stimulate creativity, open lines of communication, enhance a sense of connection and trust, and, of course make work more fun.

Herb Kelleher, former CEO Southwest Airlines, said his focus was on “fun and profit … and know how the two go together.” A winning combination!

A study by the Bell Leadership Institute in Chapel Hill, NC, found that “sense of humor” and “work ethic” were mentioned more than any other phrase when employees were asked to describe the strengths and weaknesses of senior colleagues in their organizations.

Great managers go way beyond insisting on a safe work environment. They work to create a positive, team-like and productive atmosphere which includes the gift of laughter.

As a leader, it’s all too easy to maintain a focus limited to meeting goals and deadlines. Our daily activities can be overwhelming and challenging, and we aren’t always aware of the pressure we put on ourselves and our co-workers. We need to be aware when stress levels begin to rise, and we need to know how to lessen it.

A happy workplace not only improves productivity, it’s also been attributed to increasing loyalty and energy levels, and reducing tension, absenteeism, tardiness, and attrition.

Self-deprecating humor enhances perceptions of leadership ability because it tends to minimize status and title distinctions. Researchers at Seattle University found that project managers who used self-deprecating humor tested highest for transformational leadership in areas including likability, trust, consideration, and intellectual stimulation.

Like any leadership behavior, the use of humor requires skill. For some, using humor is a natural talent, for others it’s awkward.

Tip: Avoid humor that is sexist, ethnic, political, or religious since this is usually at someone’s expense, and is likely to be disruptive and ill received.

How are you incorporating humor in the workplace?

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