Why Leaders Use Humor

Note: This is part 3 of a 5 part series detailing why it’s important to have humor in the workplace.  This post explores the use of humor to enhance leadership skills.

Eisenhower once said, “A sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done.”  If you’re not familiar with US President ,Eisenhower, a quick trip to Wikipedia will help you understand that he might know a thing or two about leadership.

Now I can’t be sure what part of leadership Dwight David included humor in, but I think it may have been related to other people’s perception.  When you can use humor to diffuse difficult or tense situations, you are perceived as being “on top of things” or in control (whether you are or not).  Think about it, who are you more likely to follow?  Someone who is stressed out and frazzled by a recent string of events?  Or someone calm and controlled, and able to apply humor to relieve tension before getting back to business?

In addition to this improved perception, use of humor can also improve your ability to influence.  People are naturally more inclined to read and listen to what you have to say if you consistently use humor.

Of course you, being the intelligent person you are, are starting to realize that all of this leads to better leading.  But for those of you still not convinced, consider the results of some corporate studies published in the Harvard Business Review:

  • A survey of 1,000 executives discovered that 84% of respondents felt that workers with a sense of humor do a better job.
  • A survey of 700+ CEOs showed that 98% of them preferred job candidates with a sense of humor.
  • A study of 20 executives at one company showed that executives ranked as “Outstanding” vs. “Average” used humor 133% more than their average counterparts.  Reviewing compensation for the same group showed the size of their bonuses was positively correlated to their use of humor.

You might say that not only does money talk, it also laughs.

So as you prepare to give that recommendation, make that influential presentation, or have that conversation with, well, anyone, remember to keep humor top of mind.  You may find yourself leading the way to better leadership.

THIS FREE 129 SECOND QUIZ WILL SHOW YOU

what is your humor persona?

Humor is a skill that can be learned. And when used correctly, it is a superpower that can be your greatest asset for building a happier, healthier and more productive life.  See for yourself...

you might also be interested in...

Insights and Takeaways from AIN Conference 2012

By Andrew Tarvin | September 24, 2012

This year’s Applied Improvisation Network annual conference took place in San Francisco, and as usual, I walked away with a […]

Read More

9 Kids Games Adapted to the Corporate World

By Andrew Tarvin | November 13, 2012

As a kid we spent many-a-day playing games with our classmates and neighbors. Once you’ve entered the corporate world, that […]

Read More
what of work pyramid

The 5 Work Skills You Need To Master To Be Successful at Work

By Andrew Tarvin | January 28, 2020

Here at Humor That Works, we’ve had the privilege of helping more than 250 organizations bring their people to life […]

Read More
[scriptless]

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top