My husband and I used to work together before we fell in love and got hitched. 😉 The one thing that I really love about him [rather got attracted to even then, among other things], was, his approach to humor. He would always make things a little funny and little fun, even in the most stressful and grave situations. He would always tell me “life’s too short to be sad and serious.” I often discredited that and would always tell him, “easy for you to say it.” However, over the years I’ve really learned to cherished his ability to humor things out in most critical times and making situations seem better. It is his best asset at work too.
Now, let me put a disclaimer in that in no way I am trying to say humor is mock at the situation or mock at a person [read till the end to know more about what appropriate humor is.] or even being stupid in situations where one could be serious or empathetic or compassionate or vulnerable. Humor needs to be used to make situations better, make people feel good and to create a culture, where people SMILE. Because, when you smile, you are in a relaxed stated and it makes you think better and be fully present in the situation. And that is exactly what makes my husband stand out from the crowd as well.
Now, this isn’t a post for bragging about my spouse. Nope! Not at all. In fact, through his example I wanted to share that humor at work and in life WORKS WONDERS! I’ve learned the value of humor (what it actually means). And I since them I’ve set out to explore how it helps us in our everyday life and even at being our best possible selves at work. I am largely referring to strategies for humor at work here but it is indeed applicable to life as well. Below are 5 ways by which humor helps you at work or in life. Largely, humor:
- Makes you spend your waking hours more happily: We are constantly seeking to be happy at work and in life. The simple way by which we can do that is to just choose happiness and implement it by seeing the bright side of things. You will consciously make situations better by bringing TASTEFUL humor into situations.
- Gets you to win arguments, more friends and communicate better: Largely, most arguments can be won with a smile, a little bit of appropriate humor. [Read until the last bit to know more about appropriate humor.]
- Makes you the most memorable person in the room, when used right: Funny anecdotes that are related to your work are almost the hardest to narrate. However, as you try mastering that, you realize truly honest and funny stories are often the hardest ones to tell. But when you effectively inject humor into your speaking style, you will be more effective in relationships and communications, thereby making you the most memorable in the room.
- Aids career advancement: The timely and appropriate use of humor is an asset to any professional, especially leaders. Use the levity surrounding your experiences, mistakes, failures, challenges among other things to learn from them, and grow in the chosen path.
- Increases your assertiveness: Anyone who has had a stint with humor or experienced with another person, will be able to tell that people who effectively use humor can be highly persuasive and assertive. A trait much desired, in today’s day and age.
- Enables effective learning and growing environment: Humor is great for learning. I personally have trained people through humor, (I have to admit sometimes I did fail because of amateur efforts, but I too was learning). It is a great pedagogical tool, which has been shown to reduce classroom anxiety, create a more positive atmosphere, as well as facilitate the learning process.
- Makes people more approachable and reduces status differentials: Humor can mellow situations where any status differentials arises. In fact it is the most helpful in situations where people find themselves bridged between social structures and hierarchies. It helps to reduce the social distance.
- Diffuses conflict: Humor can bridge differences. It can lead to peace and enable mediation for resolution, pretty fast. It can be highly persuasive when presenting a message that people disagree with because the humor distracts them from immediately creating counter arguments, in part, because then, they don’t feel like the message is being forced.
- Enables acceptance of new ideas: When you are in a good mood, your mind is open to new ideas, more than it would be when you are unhappy or unappreciative. Humor allows you to have an open mind for newer ideas and change management.
- Enables you develop a culture of positivity and growth mindset: Once you see the humor in situations, you start acting on them with an open mind, which in turn leads to an open mind.
I go by Michael Kerr’s book and his work on Humor at Work, completely. I am also inspired by Daniel H. Pink, who wrote the book Drive, which has inspired my to a great length to stay motivated at work and motivate others as well and humor is definitely an element in it.
However, be careful regarding, what your humor stand for. An attempt at bad humor is not an acceptable excuse for unacceptable behavior. Racist, sexist, ageist, body shaming, and other forms of discriminating acts won’t be tolerated because you attempted to cloak them in bad humor. You need to be careful in these areas (You’ve got two strategies for today, you’re welcome!):
- Use your humor to make people feel more comfortable rather than awkward.
- Don’t use practical jokes unless you know how the receiving end takes it. Not everyone wants to be laughed at.
- Use humor to lift people up, not to push them down. There is definitely no reason to laugh at someone rather include everyone in a situation.
- Never try too hard to be funny because it may question your credibility.
- Don’t cover your bad condescending humor in the blanket of “I was just joking.” It only puts you in a tight spot.
You never offend other while you make people laugh (which is the kindest thing to do) and you enable better better performance outcomes and learning recall of learning, when need be.
Now, you tell me: Is there a specific strategy that you have for using humor at work? Or is there something that people do in the name of humor that you don’t like? Put it down in the comments below. I know you have a story to share and it would be phenomenal to hear from you.
Also, this post is a labor of love. So, I would be really appreciative of you, if you share it with your friends, family or across your social media. Share away! 🙂
I am emailing a great resource today regarding how you can be humorous at work without condescending anyone. If you want in, then sign up to get the free resource, YOU’LL LOVE IT.
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