“A sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done.“
– Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th president of the United States of America-
A Robert Half International survey found that 91 percent of executives believe a sense of humor is important for career advancement; while 84 percent feel that people with a good sense of humor do a better job. The two most desirable traits in leaders were a strong work ethic and a good sense of humor according to another study done by Bell Leadership Institute. Research shows that having a tasteful sense of humor is one of the keys to success at work. It turns out taking yourself too seriously at work can have the exact opposite effect on colleagues.
Michael Kerr, an international business speaker, and author of The Humor Advantage: Why Some Businesses are Laughing all the Way to the Bank, says there are workplaces with employees who tone down their humor, often with the desire to be taken more seriously. He adds, “Yet, this can backfire as people who take themselves overly seriously are often, ironically, taken less seriously by the people around them.” Are you still doubtful that humor can help your career? Here are 5 ways how humor can benefit you at work.
Makes work fun
When you are seen as a person with a sense of humor, colleagues tend to equate you to as fun to be around and therefore will want to collaborate with you more often. Naturally, you will have more exposure to more projects and connections. The fact that most people prefer to work with you and you get more opportunities to big-scale projects will get you noticed at work. Guess whose name will come up when a promotion is available?
When people are more relaxed, juicy ideas tend to flow better. When there’s humor, the environment is less threatening, and colleagues will feel more at ease to suggest new ideas with you and team.
Project and timeline can get stressful especially when things aren’t going smoothly. Having a timely sense of humor can help defuse any stressful situations and help get the team back on track. Also, enthusiasm and happiness are contagious so humor can also help boost morale in a team when things get tough.
Connects you with people
Nothing brings people closer faster than a few shared chuckles. When you share a few laughs together or share the same sense of humor, it can be an effective bonding activity. As they say, a team that laughs together stays together.
Humor creates a positive, non-threatening atmosphere that encourages interaction, brainstorming of new ideas, and a feeling that you won’t be penalized for suggesting new ideas. All of these positive elements will lead to higher productivity.
Lynn Taylor, workplace expert and author of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant, concludes it nicely when she said, “Humor demonstrates maturity and the ability to see the forest through the trees. You don’t have to be a stand-up comedian, but well-placed humor that is clever and apropos to a business situation always enhances an employee’s career.”
So, aside from honing your technical skills, it’s also time to hone up your sense of humor and laugh your way to a promotion.
Monica Leong is a storyteller at heart. Graduated with a Journalism and Public Relations degree, she is currently working in corporate communications and also contributes as a freelance writer and editor. Before entering the corporate world, she worked in female lifestyle magazines such as Marie Claire, CLEO, and PEARL as an editor and a features writer. Monica is passionate about writing and working on a short story and flash fiction anthology.