How Using Humor Can Make You a Better Leader
Knock, knock. Who’s there? A broken pencil. A broken pencil who? Nevermind, it’s pointless. Turns out, jokes like these are good for business. When working in the business world with a company or as an individual, developing leadership qualities are always helpful in growing yourself and your mission.
One such leadership quality that’s often overlooked but should never be undervalued is humor. Humor has shown to be a valuable component of leadership, and actually makes you a better leader in your own life. So, let’s get cracking and let the good times roll.
Humor builds rapport.
Think of every leader you’ve followed. Maybe a coach, a teacher, professor or even a peer. Think of the ones you were closest to. More than likely, they were the ones who didn’t mind telling a joke or two. Using humor in business and personal communication builds up rapport among those around you. It makes you relatable, engaging and yes, even makes you seem trustworthy. Humor can connect people across cultures, languages and age ranges. When used appropriately, humor brings people together and makes you appear as a comfortable, connected and captivating leader.
Humor strengthens your team.
When a leader demonstrates humor, the team feels more relaxed overall, and is able to relate more closely with each other. Laughing and having fun together stimulates a sense of communal culture, establishing team members often as more than just “coworkers,” but “friends.” People are much more likely to help out their friends on a last-minute project than they are their coworkers. Use humor in your leadership role and watch as it breaks down barriers between team members, who can then engage through humor, connect with each other and work together as friends.
Humor makes people like you.
Not only does humor build rapport and friendships, but honestly, it makes people like you. Everyone loves a charming guy or gal who can make them laugh. Now, this isn’t saying that you have to be the class clown or anything—definitely don’t try to be someone that you’re not. But, it is saying that cracking a joke every now and then or engaging in office humor would probably help you in the popularity contest. When people like you, they’re more likely to support you, more likely to help you out and more likely to follow you in any leadership roles you take on.
Humor puts things in perspective.
Let’s be real: sometimes situations can be tough. And things can get pretty serious pretty quickly. But, using humor can put some of those “serious issues” into perspective, and help you and others around you realize that not everything has to be a big deal all the time. Great leadership isn’t about being bossy and mean, or forcing team members to always see things seriously. Instead, great leadership is about recognizing what the serious issues are, and then letting the little ones go with a good laugh.
Humor breaks the tension.
Last but certainly not least, humor can break the tension in high-stress situations, both in and outside of the business world. Oftentimes, issues can become serious when conflict arises. But, when you use humor from a point of leadership, it can act as a “reset” button, help to de-stress the situation, allow everyone to relax and restart on a lighter note, so a mutual agreement can be reached. Using humor from a leadership role to break tense situations is a useful technique in moving conversations forward in a more positive light.
If you’re in a leadership position or hoping to one day be there, try implementing humor into more of your interactions. Even if you’re not the funniest person in the world, everyone can use a good laugh now and then. Try it out and see how your leadership skills develop.