I am addicted to the “Bad Dad Joke” contests popular on Youtube*. In these, people take turns telling jokes only a dad could love while trying to keep a straight face.
Humor (even that of the corny dad joke variety) is a great distraction and a vital contributor to our health and well-being.
Humor is also incredibly important for effective leadership.
Leadership benefits include:
- Making a leader more approachable
- Instilling confidence in others
- Allowing people to put things in perspective
- Injecting feeling of positivity and optimism
- Maintaining relationships and contributing to feelings of good will between people
- Giving evidence of intelligence**
Humor is also a great way to teach without giving a sermon. For instance, many of you are familiar with my “lava cave” story in which I complain at length about how useless the cheap flashlights we just bought were, until my wife asked if the dimness might have anything to do with the fact that I still had my sunglasses on. (!!) The story gets a chuckle, but everyone can get the point.
Avoid the sarcasm. As a leader, anything out of your mouth will be amplified and you want to make sure that what you are saying is not taken as some kind of passive aggressive criticism.
Let people see your lighter side. It will give them more assurance that they are working with a smart, confident, open-minded person. –and that’s no joke.
*click here for a good example between two priests…
**When asked by a journalist how long it would take to win the war, Churchill replied “If we manage it well, only half as long as if we manage it badly.”
P.S. If you have a favorite “Dad joke,” send it my way. Here’s my gift to you: “What do you call fake spaghetti? …an impasta.”