A manager called a meeting for the various members of his team. He sent out an email and told everyone where and when it was. By mistake he entered the wrong date into his PDA and showed up 24 hours early. Before he realized this, he emailed everyone and asked them where they were. To his great surprise he found out that he had the wrong day.
The learning for the team here was how the manager handled his mistake. Instead of trying to cover it up. He acknowledged it and made light of it. He called himself the Panasonic manager – one who is slightly (24 hours) ahead of his time. He proved that he had a sense of humour about it. He discovered the invaluable lesson to take what you do seriously and yourself lightly. Humor after all is a sense of perspective.
Any manager can relate to this story. The leadership question is how would you respond to it?
Managers and leaders who can laugh at some of the things they do are not weak. Rather they are strong enough to poke a little fun at themselves once in awhile. This helps them look human, personable and relatable and this leads to being more trustworthy. We like to follow those who we can relate to and those with whom we can share a laugh. I like to say of myself that I live very near where I was born and raised. All those who said that I wouldn’t get very far in life were … right!
Your healthy sense of humor is a people skill. Having a sense of humour enables you to develop a creative, productive and fun loving, work environment. It is a management skill that can be learned. Dwight Eisenhower once said that “a sense of humour is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done.”
7 Perspectives of Healthy Humour
Laughs with people, not at them
Is not rude, crude or lewd
Bonds people together and doesn’t put anyone down
Pokes gentle fun at some things you do
Takes what others and you do seriously and yourself lightly
Opens you to new thinking, relationships and possibilities
Sees the lighter side of life
The safest humour that anyone can use is self-directed. It is humour that pokes some gentle fun at what you do. This reveals not only that you are a human being, but also a humorous being.
As a result, people will identify with you more. Laughter is a sign of agreement that bonds people together. It is a way of communicating without words.