Having trouble connecting with your employees? It might be time to evaluate the level of humor and fun in your office.
In a recent article from BBC, Eric Barton explains why laughing employees is beneficial for everyone: the employee, the manager and the organization. A manager that is comfortable with making a joke here and there may have an easier time relating to employees and getting employees to remember and understand their messages. Humor (if used properly and sensitively) can also help to diffuse tension in uncomfortable situations or when delivering bad news. And lastly, humor and fun can help foster creativity and positively impact productivity.
Barton points to Zappos as an example, where the third item on their list of core values is “create fun and a little weirdness.” Walking around their corporate headquarters you may see a manager wearing a rainbow tutu or get caught in the middle of a Nerf gun war. Vanessa Lawson, senior trainer at Zappos, said that their sense of humor and fun has had a positive impact on job satisfaction among Zappos employees, causing them to be more likely to stay with the company and contribute new ideas.
However, just like outside of the office, Barton points out that it’s important to make sure that your audience will appreciate your humor as much as you do. Offensive jokes can be more harmful than no jokes at all, and may even result in lawsuits and damage employee trust. It’s also important not to force humor and fun in your office. Barton warns: “Trying too hard to be funny is, well, the opposite of humour.”
For more help on using humor appropriately and effectively, check out these eight tips from Forbes. What’s number one on their list? “Don’t confuse being a leader with being a comedian.”