Is there anything that feels better than a belly laugh? Experts tell us laughing is actually serious business when it comes to personal health benefits, yet so many workplaces seem to be pretty stoic places. There are plenty of reasons why people who typically have a good sense of humor tend to be more reserved in the office, with one of the most common factors being a concern that attempts at being funny or pointing out something silly may fail miserably and leave them feeling embarrassed or exposed.
Despite reservations by some around demonstrating a great sense of humor at work, there are many surveys which conclude employees believe it is a factor which can play heavily in a person’s potential for advancement—and an ability to laugh or keep things light at appropriate times is considered one of the very best traits a leader can have.
Here are six reasons why leaders should encourage and model a bit of laughter:
- Humor is a pathway to play. All work and no play do not offer a creative, open-minded, dynamic atmosphere. Laughing gives our brains a moment of healthy distraction and a chance to briefly reboot so we can focus better afterward, as well as even tap into fresh ideas.
- Laughter puts people at ease, breaks tension and builds cohesiveness in groups; cohesive, trusting groups work better together and members feel greater loyalty to each other.
- When people laugh with each other, they relax and are open to seeing more possibilities. Circumstances become less about maintaining constant control and more about looking at reality. (And even a tough reality can allow for glimmers of humor.)
- Humor is a major morale booster. When a workplace allows for an occasionally playful environment where not every single thing is taken seriously, people actually want to be there.
- Those who embrace humor are easier to approach and get to know, which ultimately leads to others feeling more comfortable to be honest and forthright when it really matters.
- Stress can make us sick, but laughter actually increases our beta-endorphins and strengthens our immune systems. Plus, laughing burns calories…so less time on the treadmill!
Our Milestone Leadership team really likes to laugh and we encourage humor in our every day activities. We believe leaders worth following are individuals whom others genuinely enjoy being around. Leaders who can recognize and occasionally defuse stressful situations using a bit of appropriate humor are very powerful in their ability to create healthy work environments, motivate team members and encourage personal connections.
According to Harvard Business Review, “Good comedy is a conspiracy. Create an in-group.”