I was a motivational speaker for a health care event and a hospital executive suggested he was having a hard time getting people to have fun. This statement said it all because you cannot force fun down someone's throat. This takes all the fun out it! To get people to have fun by mandating it will not work. Fun is spontaneous.
When I spoke with him later, I quickly realized one of the things they need to do to improve morale is remove the obstacles and allow people to engage each other in a fun and positive way. The hospital was using electronic medical records that required a large computer to be placed between the health care professional and the patient. Unless you are going to do a dance routine with the technology (which might be fun and could be motivational!) this machine is directly in the way of direct, positive employee/patient engagement.
A leader's job is to model fun, trust others to do their job, let them bring their full selves to the job . . . and get out of the way and watch the fun unfold.
As the motivational speaker for the healthcare event, I suggested leaders don't have to entertain people or spend a lot of time and money forcing fun into the work. Just let it organically unfold as you encourage people to bring their full selves to work.
Leaders do need to model fun. If a leader is stern and serious, it sets the tone for the entire workplace. You can't expect others to be positive and having fun if you aren't having fun yourself. It is difficult to enjoy yourself if you are made to feel uncomfortable. In my motivational speech, I asked leaders to contemplate "When was the last time you had fun while working and what were you doing?" This is a clue as to what bring your full self to work means. It is likely that they were completely engaged in the moment and the time flew by because they were having fun and stepping out of the way to let the fun unfold for others.
The motivational speech I presented for the healthcare event was Lighten Up and Laugh for Healthcare Professionals.