“I am sad at work”, “I fed up with my boss”, “Each time I’m going to work I have the feeling to go to funeral”, etc. You’ve never heard this before? I’m sure the answer is “Absolutely YES”, but I would prefer that you say “Unfortunately YES”. Why? Because I belong to this kind of people who think that workplace must be enjoyable.
In France, we have some trouble with the picture that firms can display. Actually the whole firm – CEOs included – is not very appreciated. Some people even talk about anti-firms and anti-CEOs racism. To partly avoid this kind of behaviors I decided to write this article to emphasize the various benefits of developing humor in professional relations.
But pay attention. I say that I disagree with people who believe that humor does not have its place in firms. But as we say in French: “you cannot laugh at everything with everyone” – rule to also apply at work.
Humor does not sap the authority
The first trouble is that some managers keep on being afraid of losing authority by manipulating humor. They should not – unless they use it to denigrate themselves or ridicule their own staff.
For those who picture it as a waste of time, imagine it as an opportunity to go straight to the point – and thus, save time. Because humor is a tool which facilitates conversations, establishes a mutual trust and gives people ground in an easier way.
Everything have limits
But be aware that humor must be handled carefully and wisely. It exists some risks such as humiliating or embarrassing someone, losing credibility, etc. When Managers choose to use humor, they have to consider people, moments and situations, and to respect certain limits. A joke can relax the atmosphere during a conversation with some employees, but during an important meeting: forget it!
A natural anti stress remedy
Humor can also be for Managers a « decompression remedy”. Indeed it provides relaxation to help them to put things into perspective during a stressful situation. It allows seeing reality differently: in doing so, it helps to explore possible solutions that we had not expected before. »
A strategic business tool
The question is: Could humor become an integral part of the company policy? Yes – but only if you avoid exploit humor. If a company intends to promote humor, it must be consistent with the organization, its values, its habits, its objectives, its processes. Thus humor will be considered among others actions to achieve a global goal.
A communication advantage
In some cases, humor helps to manage delicate situations. Some consulting firms even offer humoristic audits. Actually it could help to play the situation down and to fluently talk about trouble such as management misunderstanding, disengagement, etc.
Delicate messages can be also convey to employees through a play or a one-man show – for instance.
A way to humanize your company
Finally, do not deprive yourself of humor! Bringing humor in your office, it’s accepting that people are free to express themselves. It is also accepting this unexpected part that is peculiar to human relationships. In other words, it’s putting people at the heart of the organization.