4 Ways to Boost Your Leadership Stocks Through Laughter

Laugh – It’ll Improve Your Leadership More Than Another Leadership Course

As you know, we’re big on laughter here and the important role it plays in our personal and professional lives. And the evidence keeps mounting- we came across an interesting bit of research about the value of laugther for “social grooming” (courtesy of our good friend Andrew O’Keefe, www.hardwiredhumans.com ). Social grooming, is what we, (in fact all primates), do to help this form of cohesive and productive social groups. Why it matters is that groups that don’t bond- don’t function. Groups that do bond- do function. The danger in many modern workplaces, with the huge workloads, long hours, and stress- is that in an effort to get through all the work we stop bonding with others. That very quickly leads to a breakdown in social relations which has implications for trust, collaboration, conflict and ultimately performance, innovation and leadership. Spending sometime chitchatting with your colleagues, being a bit personable, and knowing more about them than just the professional roles all helps. On the other hand- you don’t want to go too far the other way. All social chit chat, and no work, is also unproductive.

So, how can you bond quickly in the workplace; create some bonds, and perform a high level? Well, it turns out that laughter is an ideal way to do this. Laughter is quick, enjoyable, and it releases feel-good endorphins which help us enjoy the company of our colleagues. If you’re a leader, setting the right “tone” for laughter is important. One caveat here- is that the laughter isn’t at anybody’s expense.

Tips for leaders

How do you set the right tone as a leader- this is Andrew’s advice:

First, as the leader your mindset matters. Are you of the view that there is a place for light-hearted moments at work and that laughter is a good thing?

Second, set the tone that laughter is encouraged. You don’t need to be a teller of jokes, but you do need to send signals that you are willing to have a laugh and that there is a place for others to share humorous moments.

Third, create the environment for laughter. It might be sharing light-hearted moments from your weekend, or at meetings and coffee catch-ups.

Fourth, monitor that there is a reasonable amount of laughter occurring in your workplace. Healthy laughter is a good indicator of high engagement and high energy. And that people are bonding.

And we might also add:

  • Run a laughter workshop, or a series of laughter workshops.
  • Have us present a laughter session at your next quarterly forum or annual gathering.
  • Book our Talk “Happy Hour is 9-to-5”