"Your attitude is like a box of crayons that color your world. Constantly color your picture gray, and your picture will always be bleak. Try adding some bright colors to the picture by including humor, and your picture begins to lighten up."
--- Allen Klein
In Part II of Fun, Humor, and Work, the focus is on adding humor to your workday. It's not about how to be humorous, but on how to unbutton your top button, relax, and allow the humorous parts of your day to take the spotlight. Too often we get stuck in the rut of keeping our nose to the grindstone without looking up to see or hear something that touches our funny bone, even just a little.
Of course, work is required to keep the business running and your team members should be serious about creating, developing, and producing quality products and service to the best of their abilities. We still need to focus on pleasing our customers and bringing in as much profit as possible into the business. But that doesn't mean we can't let out a big ole belly laugh at something that happened in the shop or because of something funny somebody said.
"I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it's the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It's probably the most important thing in a person."
--- Audrey Hepburn
The magazine, Reader's Digest, used to have a section titled, Laughter is the Best Medicine. It had some really good stories, jokes and one-liners that made millions of readers laugh, or at least smile. The section's title told the truth though. Laughter is healthy for the body and soul. If we want to get really deep, science has proven that healing occurs in patients with all kinds of ailments when the patient laughs. Endorphins are released that assist with healing, relaxation, and boosting the immune system.
Other benefits of laughter include the burning of calories, lightening the load of anger, improving the function of the heart, and burning calories.
"In the household in which I was raised, the themes were pretty simple. 'Work hard. Don't quit. Be appreciative, be thankful, be grateful, be respectful. Also, never whine, never complain. And always, for crying out loud, keep a sense of humor.'"
--- Michael Keaton
As business leaders, we are always looking for ways to improve productivity and fatten our bottom lines. Humor can help. Another benefit of finding something funny and not stifling its effect, is that when employees are tense, either from a tight deadline, being reprimanded by the boss, or from working on a frustrating project, humor can help. Tense team members are not functioning at optimal capacity when under stress. By laughing at something, they relax and reboot to their normal productive self. They see that although their work is serious, they don't have to take themselves so seriously and that gives them power.
"In conversation, humor is worth more than wit and easiness more than knowledge."
--- George Herbert
A boss or supervisor who is funny, or tries to be funny all the time can hurt a business. Team members eventually stop taking them seriously. But adding does of appropriate humor works wonders.
Here are three ways to make humor work for you: First, set aside time for funny moments. Whether you are taking employees to lunch or meeting them at breaks, use that time to show a funny video, wear a funny costume, tell a funny joke, or share a funny story. Second, if you're going to make fun of someone to add humor to the workday, let that someone be you. Don't use others. Finally, use healthy props or scary situations, like the fake snake or silly string to make others laugh. Know your people and who you can play practical jokes on though.
"From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere."
--- Dr. Seuss