How Fun is Your Organization?
Be here now. Be someplace else later. Is that so complicated?
Let fun at work happen, it will energize, motivate, and keep talented people on your team. Laughter’s invisible energy is a very powerful thing.
To be flexible and innovative in the face of leadership and change; take yourself lightly so you can take your work seriously.
Take this test.
How often do you hear people laughing at work?
A) Hardly ever
B) A few times a day
Select the word that best describes your organization:
A) Down to earth
A) Highly professional
B) Organized chaos
The more B’s you have, the more likely your organization is a fun place to work (if you have 2 or less B’s you may need help). Everything about fun is fluid, resilient, accepting, relaxed and engaging. The moment something becomes regimented, difficult, controlled or impersonal it is no longer fun. If you were playing a fun game and someone tried to control the outcome and regimented rules, objectives, timelines and personal quotas, the game would no longer be fun.
There is no objective to having fun, because fun is in the moment, you are not trying to plan or plot. The whole objective is just to be there in the moment and have a good time.
Control the Work not the People doing the Work
Organizations are built around goals and objectives- so is it impossible to have fun at work? If you have had fun working before- than you know it’s not. The nature of work itself should be built around objectives and goals but this doesn’t give you license to control people.
I was a guest speaker at a conference and the keynote speaker suggested, If a work community suppresses humor, it is likely that it also suppresses communication, teamwork, leadership because employees’ humanness is restricted.
Humor helps define the human being. Humor is a way people express their true, intimate core selves, including their vulnerable, foolish, irrational, ridiculous sides.
Humor and the fun make these regimented environments fluid, engaging and flexible. Fun adds balance to regime. Fun personalizes structure.
The more structured, organized, and planned a work environment is the more you need to have fun. Fun adds the fluid personal aspect that keeps people motivated and balanced.
Fun is an insurance plan
Without it when things go wrong, the structure and plan fall apart, this regimented work environment collapses (or the people do). Highly structured organizations rely on logical analytical cause effect reasoning where employees can be rigid to respond to changing situations
When work environments are fluid and people are used to being flexible, they can laugh in the face of challenge and adapt to the new environment.
Organizations that are highly regimented and controlled are usually not trend setting and innovative. They prefer structure to change. They avoid conflict because it affects the status quo.
Humor conveys membership and builds cohesiveness. When you walk into the office and hear people laughing and talking this is a great thing because it means people like each other, they trust each other and they enjoy working together.
Funny often means giving up control
Questions to develop your leadership potential
1. Do I use humor as part of my leadership style? Why? Why not?
2. How have your past use of humor influenced the expectations of your co-workers?
3. What kinds of humorous situations or stories have you found most effective at work? List some acceptable and unacceptable topics.
4. What works best for you: self-effacing humor or humor that is directed (positively) toward coworkers? Why?
Experiment with responding to others in a way that is lighthearted.
Look for the funny honey..
Human beings are strange, unexplainable, hilarious creatures. Just notice how people look, what they say, what their intentions are. Notice the gaps; notice that interactions and feelings are unpredictable and messy. We are all beginners, all amateurs at being human, at interacting with others. Life is Messy and people are funny because they can be prejudiced, predictable, and picky. Find the humor in it.
Remember: Every time you laugh you orient your heart and mind
1) Oh Lighten Up! Your quick, easy lighten up tip for the month
- View your life in context. Even world leaders realize they have limited ability to affect others’ lives. While we might think taking the weight of the world on our shoulders is admirable it’s not good for you.
- Pay attention to children and emulate them. They are the experts on playing, taking life lightly, and laughing
- throw a pajama party at work
2) Game Spot - a fun quick activity you can use this month at work
- Ask a group to brainstorm for five minutes on the qualities of the ideal team member and lists the qualities on a flipchart. The qualities range from having an excellent sense of humor, to being very serious about their work, to being an excellent goal setter and time manager.
- Present definitions for “skill” and “attitude” and have the group come to agreement: A skill is something we learn, like riding a bike or speaking another language. Attitude is how we feel emotionally about those skills.
- The group then decides if the items on the list are skills or attitudes (some may be both). Generally, attitudes dominate (approximately 85 percent to 15 percent)
3) Appreciation Station. A way to recognize, celebrate and appreciate people
- HUDDLE UP! Create a tradition, stop everything your doing and “huddle up” for recognition moments. Everything stops for a few moments to recognize a great associate.
- Simply stop. Stop chasing. Stop calling. Stop meeting. Stop worrying. Today, take a moment to stop what you are doing, call your people together, and give someone a much-deserved pat on the back.
- Or make it regular and Start every work unit meeting with praise for accomplishments and behaviors since your last meeting.
- A pep talk worth doing
4) Art of the Unexpected- Some funny simple tasteful pranks and other unexpected things you can try if you dare to throw people off guard and keep it fun
- When someone wins an award the next day send out a memo to say the award has been discontinued
- Go up to a complete stranger and ask if you can have your photo taken with them
- Get some water guns
- Get up, jog on the spot for 10 seconds and then sit down again.
- Go up to a cashier and tell them your dog told you bad things were going to happen today and they should be prepared
Jody Urquhart is a professional speaker who compels stressed-out and fed-up professionals to rediscover their passion, purpose & sense of play. To discuss having Jody speak at your next meeting please call us at 1(877) 750-1900 or email firstname.lastname@example.org