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Why laughter is serious business in the workplace

Why Laughter is Serious Business in the Workplace

Why laughter is serious business in the workplaceIn the midst of pressures and burdens that often accompany leadership, where responsibilities can weigh heavily on one person, it’s easy to minimize the importance of laughter. We often associate leadership with seriousness, focus, and determination, which are all crucial attributes. However, there’s a hidden gem in the leadership toolkit that is often overlooked: laughter.

To clarify from the onset, leaders must practice emotional intelligence and discern the timing of when laughter can be used as a helpful resource and when it would be detrimental. Being able to skillfully include humor in tense situations is a gift and not to be confused with irritating silliness. Leaders who can embrace laughter open connections with individuals and teams that might not otherwise be there.

Laughter is a universal language that can break down barriers and create a sense of camaraderie among team members, naturally boosting morale. When a leader shares genuine laughter with their team, it humanizes them and fosters a sense of trust. It shows that you’re not just the person in charge but also someone who can connect on a personal level. This trust can lead to better communication and collaboration, as team members are more likely to share their ideas and concerns. 

Leaders often face high-stress situations that can tax their physical and mental well-being. Laughter, however, has been shown to reduce stress by releasing endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. When leaders incorporate humor into their daily routine, it acts as a stress buffer, helping them stay composed and make clearer decisions even in challenging circumstances. Sometimes the best gift leaders can give their teams is shared laughter. One of my favorite TED Talks discusses this. I encourage you listen.

Laughter can serve a pivotal role in fostering creativity among team members. Innovation and creativity are two essentials for any organization’s growth and success. When people are relaxed and in a positive state of mind, they are more likely to think outside the box and come up with innovative solutions to problems. Recently I finished a book that I referenced in my previous blog titled, Wired to Create, which I highly recommend.

When leaders use humor appropriately, it can diffuse tension, create a comfortable environment for discussion, and ultimately lead to better decision-making. Additionally, a team’s morale directly impacts productivity and performance. Leaders who strategically incorporate humor into their leadership style can boost team morale and motivation. A workplace where laughter is invited is a place where employees feel valued and naturally enjoy the workplace. Inevitably, this leads to higher retention rates and a more productive team.

Laughter can be a tool for building resilience during the guaranteed challenges that accompany leadership. When leaders can smartly use humor to navigate difficult situations, it helps them rebound faster and lead with a positive outlook. Modeling this resilience for teams can be contagious, inspiring team members to approach challenges with greater openness.

At times, leaders can feel distant and unapproachable simply by their position of authority. By incorporating humor, leaders can normalize themselves and become more relatable to others. Appropriately laughing at mistakes serves as a reminder that even the best leaders still make mistakes. This kind of vulnerability can strengthen the bond between leaders and their teams.

The decisions leaders make naturally carry weight. The stakes can be high, but the value of laughter should not be underestimated. It’s not about turning the workplace into a comedy club but about recognizing that laughter has a serious role to play in leadership. It builds trust, reduces stress, fosters creativity, opens doors for connection and communication, boosts morale, builds resilience, and humanizes leadership. All while multiplying the joy behind the cubicles. At no cost.


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