By Karyn Buxman. This was originally published on Karyn's blog.
Strategic humor has the power to build relationships, relieve stress, and boost creativity, along with many other outcomes beneficial to the workplace. So how does one begin to implement it at the office? It’s as simple as creating a Humor Habit!
Why Set the Stage for Humor?
Want to know something crazy? Humor doesn’t just work while it’s happening; it can also work before it happens! How? Thanks to a little something called the anticipatory response.
When people anticipate something, they psychologically, emotionally, and physically “prepare” for it. Whether that “something” is good, bad, sad, or even painful, this phenomenon happens just the same, and it can be used to your advantage when developing your sense of humor.
When you know something funny is about happen, you shift into a mindset that’s open to laughter. You’re ready to receive and react to the impending hilarity. This state of anticipation has some of the mental and physical benefits of a good laugh, such as stress reduction and an immunity boost, before the humorous event has even occurred!
In other words, you can have happier and healthier employees by simply adding a little levity to the workday. It’s a fun and free solution to office woes!
Humor by Choice, Not Chance
Now think of a coworker, past or present, who has an amazing sense of humor and is always ready to make people laugh. You walk into the office every day happily anticipating the witty banter, one-liners, or (good-natured) office pranks this person always has in store. They set the expectation of a dose of humor to break up the office monotony. It’s a chance to destress and return to your work renewed and refreshed, having shared in a good laugh.
This person is certainly professional, never viewed as a clown. They simply understand the value of a strategically executed joke on a stressed and often overly serious workforce. They choose to create opportunities for humor because intentional humor drives results.
Humor by chance—those happenstance laughter-inducing occurrences—is entertaining, but when you take these occurrences and consciously add them to your daily workplace routine, you then create humor by choice. Leveraging levity (there’s a tongue-twister!) in the workplace creates a more optimistic mindset among employees and sets a humorous tone off which others can play. When this tone is combined with high performance expectations, your organization becomes bulletproof. Your team is happier, more relaxed, and more engaged—truly the recipe for success!
How Can You Set the Tone?
All of these outcomes can be yours if you just take the initiative to walk the talk and form a Humor Habit! Whether it’s a 5 minute dance party on Mondays, High-Five Fridays, or simply sprinkling more cheesy jokes into conversations (when appropriate, of course), you can start creating your habit today.
Brainstorm a few ways you can set a more strategically humorous tone to your organization to build a culture of openness, friendliness, and creativity!
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