10 Reasons Why Humour Is A Key To Success At Work
Forbes.com cites the reasons “Workplace Energizer” Michael Kerr believes humour is a fundamental element for achieving success in the workplace:
Tasteful humor is a key to success at work, but there’s a good chance your co-workers aren’t cracking jokes or packaging information with wit on a regular basis–and your office could probably stand to have a little more fun.
“Humor, by its nature, tends to have an edge to it, so people typically tone it down at work,” says Laura Vanderkam, author of What the Most Successful People Do at Work (Portfolio, 2013), and What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast (Portfolio, 2012). “It’s hard to do well and easy to do badly. Plus, we all have a tendency to take ourselves way too seriously.”
Michael Kerr, an international business speaker, president of Humor at Work, and author of the upcoming book, The Humor Advantage: Why Some Businesses are Laughing all the Way to the Bank (Dec. 2013), says the amount or type of humor you’ll find in any given workplace depends almost entirely on the culture. “In workplaces that encourage people to be themselves–that are less hierarchical and more innovative–people tend to be more open with their humor,” he says. “Even people who aren’t always comfortable sharing their humor tend to do so in more relaxed environments where the use of humor becomes second nature with everyone’s style.”
Why the Best Leaders Embrace the Worst Ideas
Award-winning entrepreneur and creativity expert Josh Linkner wrote a recent piece for Forbes.com on why it’s important to welcome ideas from anyone–at all levels–in your company:
Modern leadership technique models all point to an “open door” style. With this practice, employees have the ability to approach their leader with questions at any time. This philosophy of openness makes perfect sense, but it doesn’t go far enough. The door should be open not only for questions, but also for ideas – even if that means an influx of terrible ones.
Whether it’s in a pop-in, impromptu chat or in a team brainstorming session or a formal board meeting, you (as a leader) should encourage people to bring forward their ideas – and then, you should embrace what they suggest… even if it’s awful.
DR. DAVID POSEN
Why Companies Need To Stop Causing So Much Stress
The Globe and Mail’s Harvey Schachter talks to Dr. David Posen about his new book, Is Work Killing You? A Doctor’s Prescription for Treating Workplace Stress
David Posen is a stress doctor. The Oakville, Ontario-based physician, after many years as a general practitioner, became involved in stress counselling and stress management in the early 1980s. He now specializes in it, carrying out counselling and psychotherapy with patients two mornings a week, as well as consulting to organizations and advocating for action in his lectures and books.
He believes the discussion on stress in the workplace begins with four basic premises:
1) Workplaces are making people sick.
2) Not enough people are talking about it, and when they do, nobody’s listening.
3) Much of the time and effort put in by stressed-out workers is actually unproductive, so it makes more sense to focus them on important matters and cut back their hours, so their health and productivity will improve.
4) Many of the solutions aren’t complicated.
He works with individuals to help them cope better with stress. But he believes the focus has to switch from personal responsibility to the organizational level: Companies need to stop causing so much stress.
Bringing Clarity To Your Corporate Vision
The Globe and Mail’s Harvey Schacter interviews business management, marketing, and service expert Donald Cooper for his thoughts on the importance of a clear corporate vision:
When Toronto-based consultant Donald Cooper runs a corporate workshop, he displays the company’s mission statement, vision statement, statement of values and statement of purpose – but he hides the label for each chunk of text. Then he asks the employees to identify which statement is which. Rarely do they get it right.
It’s an example of the big failing in the businesses that he tries to fix – a lack of clarity. “Businesses have no clarity about what they want to do and how to get there and how to behave along the way. Our first job is clarity,” Mr. Cooper said in an interview.
For the past seven years, he has worked to develop simple, practical, logical approaches – one-page templates, meant to be presented in clear language – that can help companies gain that clarity.
The Age of Leading Yourself First
“To thine own self be true,” said Polonius in the play Hamlet, by Shakespeare. It is highly likely that Shakespeare had not intended for his character to be the spokesperson for humanity on the subject of living one’s truth (indeed, he was portrayed frequently as a foolish old “goat”.)
Nonetheless, his ramblings remain legendary; renowned through the ages for their wisdom. This quote epitomizes the essence of leading oneself first: i.e. practicing personal leadership. To lead ourselves first means that we can differentiate our values without holding any attachment to another person’s idea of whom we are supposed to be. When we are true to ourselves, we know ourselves and we understand our place in the grand scheme of things. We have discovered our unique purpose and we regularly tap into our intuition in order to make decisions of all kinds. We are successfully practicing “me” management in every situation or challenge.
When we think of “leadership skills”, we usually associate these with individuals who are in a management or supervisory role. Leadership rhetoric has its roots in a variety of management theories espoused over the ages. What is missing, however, is the idea of taking charge of oneself. It has been commonplace to think of a leader in terms of “position”, generally associated with being in charge of others. However, a title on a business card or a placard on a desk or door does not automatically make someone a leader. It may give the impression of self-importance and achievement, however, the title alone is not enough. Neither is a job description that notes functions associated with managing people. The importance of practicing personal leadership is everyone’s personal responsibility. Attaching importance to what we do for a living is often recognized as a yardstick for measuring success. However, the manner in which we conduct ourselves has far greater significance and impact in the long-term. Therefore, the meaning of leadership denotes character, above all else. It has nothing to do with a job title.