There are workplaces with employees who tone down their humor, often with the desire to be taken more seriously, he adds. “Yet, this can backfire as people who take themselves overly seriously are often, ironically, taken less seriously by the people around them.”
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“Many leaders, especially introverts, don’t know how to safely encourage the use of more humor at work and are unsure how to express it in their own leadership style,” Kerr explains. “Many of my clients also simply cite a lack of time as a key dampening factor. The desire is there, but they simply don’t know how to bring more humor into their busy work life.”
Whatever the reason may be, if you or your colleagues tend to be dry and dull in the office, you’ll want to work on injecting more humor into your workday.
Dozens of surveys suggest that humor can be at least one of the keys to success. A Robert Half International survey, for instance, found that 91% of executives believe a sense of humor is important for career advancement; while 84% feel that people with a good sense of humor do a better job. Another study by Bell Leadership Institute found that the two most desirable traits in leaders were a strong work ethic and a good sense of humor.
“At an organizational level, some organizations are tapping into what I’d call ‘the humor advantage,’” Kerr says. “Companies such as Zappos and Southwest Airlines LUV +1.89% have used humor and a positive fun culture to help brand their business, attract and retain employees and to attract customers.”
Taylor says humor demonstrates “maturity and the ability to see the forest through the trees.” You don’t have to be a stand-up comedian, she adds, “but well-placed humor that is clever and apropos to a business situation always enhances an employee’s career.”