Using Humor is undoubtedly one of most discussed and debated practices. Some view the knowledge, skill and attributes that drive this practice to provide little to no value, while others hold firm beliefs in its power. Not surprisingly, we believe humor can be a powerful tool for increasing effectiveness and creating a positive work environment. However, it is important to use it productively and to match it to the setting and audience. Let’s look at the personal benefits, the benefits to others, and how to use humor productively as a way to dive a bit deeper.
Research has shown that using humor can increase effectiveness! This means that if two leaders or managers are doing the same task, the one using humor has a greater probability of driving effective outcomes which certainly has layers of personal benefit.
Further, it can also enhance reputation and presence, as well as make a presenter more likable and easier to listen to. When appropriately displayed it communicates confidence, warmth, approachability, self-awareness, and the willingness to self-disclose. In addition, it can serve as a “saving grace,” balancing out negative characteristics such as being too strong or intimidating.
Benefits for Others
The benefits of using humor are not just personal. It can also have a positive impact on the team. It can reduce fear and tension, making it easier for team members to offer input and participate in discussions. It can also make a team more engaged and improve memory retention of important information.
Using humor invites creativity and problem-solving, as it helps to relax the team and create a more open and collaborative environment. And in presentations and meetings, adding a touch of humor can make the experience more enjoyable for everyone involved.
Using Humor Productively
Of course, it is important to use humor productively, as it can easily be misused and cause harm. It is never acceptable to use it to harm others or make fun of someone in a hurtful way. Instead, focus on using humor that is funny and appropriate for the setting and audience. Learn to appreciate the humor of others and to be relaxed and open when humor is directed towards you. This can show that you are confident, self-aware, and can help to defuse any tension or discomfort.
We know that using humor as a leader or manager can have numerous personal and professional benefits. It increases effectiveness, enhances reputations and presence, improves team engagement and problem-solving, and can creates a positive work environment. However, it is crucial to use it productively and to match it to the setting and audience. By following these guidelines, we are confident that using humor can be a valuable tool for your work as a leader or manager.