Humour serves many social purposes, and in business its most valuable is its role as a social currency. It brings people together – and anything that creates closer relationships in business will ultimately help shorten communication lines, accelerate decision-making and increase trust.
As an effective manager, you set the tone for the humour in your team. So here are some of my key tips for introducing humour into your leadership style:
1. Create jokes that can be shared
According to research from Professor Richard Wiseman, we love the terrible jokes in Christmas crackers precisely because they are terrible. If the joke is too funny, then it becomes selective; some people will get it and those who don’t will feel alienated. By making the joke awful, everyone understands it and therefore everyone feels included.
It might be the kind of joke that you groan at rather than laugh at, but the point is that you all groan together – and then you laugh about the fact that you all groaned together. So, if you’re unsure about using humour, start with a joke that’s so bad and so familiar that everyone will get it. The funniest joke is often the one that everyone already has in mind, and the laugh which follows is a laugh of recognition, of like-mindedness – which is exactly what you’re aiming for.
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