Why Use Humor as a Motivational Tool in the Workplace?
Humor is the Swiss Army Knife of life-tools. Humor relieves stress, brings people closer together, and is persuasive. Among those who use humor as a motivational tool are professional public speakers, workplace leaders, and the class clown from high school. Really anyone can use humor if they learn how.
The key to using humor as motivational tool is focus and purpose. Remember, untamed humor – that belittles or makes people uncomfortable – will not create the rapport needed to support your goals. Leaders should focus on humor that fosters positivity and an atmosphere of interaction.
Here are seven interconnected reasons for using humor as a motivational tool in your workplace:
1. Humor Promotes Listening
Humor catches attention! It makes people interested in what you have to say and keeps them engaged in the conversation. It also can improve a speaker or leader’s rapport with listeners, which means people will be more inclined to pay attention even when you aren’t making jokes.
2. Humor Is Persuasive
Humor can open people up to new ideas. For example, if you are communicating a perspective or message that others don’t agree with, humor can help people see things in a new light, or take the edge off a message so they don’t feel as though it’s being crammed down their throats!
Also, people who are laughing won’t be as quick to argue… and if they do disagree, it will be on a more positive note.
As I mentioned above, humor builds rapport and makes the speaker more likeable. That means as a workplace leader, you can use humor to build trust with your team and diffuse conflict.
3. Humor Encourages Teamwork
Laughing creates a bond that brings us closer together. One researcher described social laughter as “grooming from a distance” – as in, we’re all chimps and laughter is our way of maintaining close social bonds with each other (instead of picking off each other’s ticks and fleas!).
When you get your employees laughing together, it promotes their social bonds, makes them like each other a little bit more, and ultimately stimulates better teamwork!
4. Humor Is Linked to Creativity
Humor makes people more open to new ideas and promotes risk taking because it creates a safe space for making mistakes and trying different things. It generates a positive, “fun mood” that supports creative thinking and problem solving.
Think about it – humor and creativity are both about seeing situations or challenges in novel ways and making interesting connections.
5. Humor Improves Morale
Humor’s ability to capture attention, create rapport, and increasing social bonding between team members improves employee morale. It can be an important part of your company’s organizational culture, fostering superior performance and free-flow of ideas.
It’s also just FUN – and who doesn’t want a little fun at work?
6. Humor Increases Employee Engagement
Levity in leadership creates a positive workplace culture that engages employees, boosting productivity and overall success.
As the book “The Levity Effect: Why It Pays to Lighten Up” devotes an entire chapter to, “if they’re busting a gut, they’ll bust their butts”.
7. Humor Reduces Stress
This one’s a no-brainer: humor melts stress!
There’s a reason people say laughter is the best medicine. Strong evidence (and my own personal experience!) shows that humor reduces unproductive stress, and helps people cope with the pressures of everyday life and work.
As Abe Lincoln said: “Were it not for my little jokes, I could not bear the burdens of this office.”
Meg Soper is a motivational humorist speaker who can help you learn to laugh along the way of life as you take on life’s stressors. Get in touch with Meg today!
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