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  • Writer's pictureSusan & Renée

Leadership and Humor

Updated: Sep 6

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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