Humour in the Workplace
Humour as a competency
In today’s workplace humour is seen as a necessary competency for leaders. Michael M. Lombardo & Robert W. Eichinger in For Your Improvement – A Development and Coaching Guide (Lominger Ltd.- The LEADERSHIP ARCHITECT) suggest how humour shows up as unskilled, skilled and overused in the workplace and give some remedies for the leader who wants to improve. A person skilled in the humour competency:
- Has a positive and constructive sense of humour
- Can laugh at him/herself and with others
- Is appropriately funny and can use humour to ease tension.
Benefits of humour in the workplace
Promotes team cohesion
Promotes creativity and experimentation
Promotes wellness – relieves stress & tension
More ideas generated in brainstorming exercises
More options generated in problem solving exercises
Provides broader perspective
Grabs people’s interest and keeps them interested.
How can leaders create a working environment where joy, fun, humour and playfulness thrive?
- Model good humour skills to signal that’s the culture we desire.
- Allow time for enjoyment, social banter, anecdotes, informal chatting and story trading at the water cooler or in meetings or wherever.
- Hold a humour meeting (call it something like “Enhancing morale” or Stress reduction”) and discuss ways to have more humour, what topics are acceptable /not acceptable, do some creative exercises. Example: Come up with 10 words at random and then respond to the question “How can we have fun in this workplace?” using the random words as a place to begin.
- Create a fun zone with colourful toys.
- Create a laughter bulletin board for the latest Dilbert and other jokes.
- Share the occasional joke by e-mail
- Have a costume day
- Form or join a laughter club. (sources of information: http://www.laughteryoga.org and http://www.worldlaughtertour.com) May 1st is World Laughter Day – celebrate it.
Coaching Questions to Stimulate Reflection About Your Life & Work
- How does the culture of your organization view laughter and humour?
- Is it an unspoken rule in your organization to keep your dreams secret? How would you feel about revealing your inner person? What would happen if everyone took off their armour?
- Do you enjoy your work and workplace now? If not, what would it take to make it enjoyable?