LEADERS USE HUMOR 2022-12-19T05:24:10-05:00


Last week I was fortunate to spend three days with my two sons. They both are alumni of Georgetown University and I graduated from Syracuse. We agreed five years ago that we will strive to enjoy a father-sons weekend each basketball season when Georgetown plays Syracuse, regardless of the location.

We succeeded for two years, then the pandemic intervened. Last week we were able to continue the tradition and spend three days together. This was our first game in three years.

Saturday, Syracuse inducted its coach, Jim Boeheim, the longest-serving coach in college basketball, into its Ring of Honor. At halftime, Boeheim came out and gave remarks to the crowd.

He said, “The way this game started, (Georgetown began the game on a 9-0 run), I didn’t think I’d be able to make remarks at half-time. I thought I’d be in the locker room yelling at my team. Fortunately, we were able to turn things around and so I feel comfortable standing here talking to you.”

The coach’s words received a big laugh from the crowd. They reminded me of a valuable lesson I learned many years ago. Humor is important in leadership, whether you are the coach of a basketball team, the CEO of a major corporation, or the head of a government agency.

Leaders who utilize humor in the workplace have found that it can provide a number of meaningful advantages:

-Humor can increase morale

-Leaders who use humor show themselves as more human and approachable -Humor can defuse many tense conversations or situations in the workplace

-Humor can help enhance relationships. among colleagues

-Humor can decrease pressure being felt around significant work projects

-Humor can be a very effective vehicle for beginning meetings or presentations

-Humor can help leaders realize they ought not to take themselves too seriously

-Leaders who use humor regularly can help maintain a happier working environment

-Workplaces with humor as a regular attribute have been proven to maintain lower absentee rates and higher retention rates

-Daily humor in the workplace motivates people to come to work, whether it is virtual or in person

So, as you begin this new work week,, I encourage you to reflect upon your own use of humor. It can be a wonderful piece of your leadership tool kit.

P.S. Syracuse beat Georgetown by 19 points. Just saying. 😊