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  • Writer's pictureSusan & Renée

Leadership and Humor

Updated: Sep 6, 2023

We’ve been talking about how to bring lightness and levity to the workplace. Today we’ll talk about what this means for leaders.

When asked to list the qualities of a great leader, there are several that come to mind: self-awareness, good communication skills, action oriented, consistent. But another important quality that is often overlooked is a sense of humor.

A study from the journal Social Behavior and Personality shows that humor may be a useful management tool. It found that leaders with a sense of humor are viewed by their subordinates as 27% more admirable and motivating than their more serious counterparts. The employees of these leaders are 15% more engaged and committed and more successful at innovatively solving challenges.

Thankfully, you don’t need to be a professional comedian to benefit from this effect. Just being willing to share a joke with your colleagues, laugh at yourself, and be a little bit silly engenders trust and dedication from your workers while also promoting a sense of belonging in the workplace.

Naomi Bagdonas, a business management lecturer, and Jennifer Aaker, a behavioral scientist, teach a class at Stanford University about the power of humor in leadership.

Take 10 minutes to watch their Ted Talk where they explain:

  • the value of humor for leaders

  • why humor is effective

  • how humor promotes connection among employees

  • how humor can boost sales

  • tips for bringing more laughter into the workplace.

And here’s your joke for the day:

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