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The Humor Advantage for the Workplace

Posted on December 03, 2006

By Mary Feeley, CSP

A very serious disease is rampantly infiltrating the workplace like a nasty computer virus.  This disease is call H.D.D., which stands for Humor Deficit Disorder.  The symptoms include a workplace high in negative stress, employees griping and spreading rumors, low morale and sabotage of changes that must be implemented.  A joyless environment where creativity is stifled and employees dragging their mindless bodies in resentment to the workplace.
The humor advantage provides many benefits to everyday workplace communication and essential for successful meetings and events.  So much business dialogue necessary for accurate flow of information, for training or for supervision is predictable and therefore easy to tune out.  Humor breathes originality into ordinary dialogue.  It can spawn a creative culture in which new ideas are generated and old patterns of thinking are jolted.  Humor can soften criticism of ideas and the potential embarrassment, inhibition and eventual loss of an imaginative employee.
Organizations who want to create a workplace culture that embraces humor need a strategic plan.  I'm not joking here!  Constructing a humor mission statement that complements the infrastructure and does not contradict the organization's values and ethics is essential.  Training in the use of workplace humor is necessary if management is to feel safe encouraging employees to be funny and have fun.
When an organizations has a culture of humor, employees are less inhibited.  When we feel less inhibited, creativity has fewer boundaries.   The result is a joyful work environment where loyal employees want to come to work and true teamwork is created.  Problem solving and learning are maximized, information flows, employees are better equipped to make changes when necessary to create innovative products and services.  The humor advantage increases productivity that can be seen on the bottom-line in customer loyalty and increased profits.
Laugh and learn this week about the many benefits of the humor advantage and how to skillfully apply humor techniques.


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Marian Shaw

Dec. 8, 2006. Appreciated this blog. Humor can be hard to come by in a non-profit organization or a scholarly one where people can become a little too preoccupied and serious about their mission. One indication of humor is how much a person or a boss makes himself available to the public and the people that work on the staff and volunteers. I have been a volunteer with a large private library for over six years. Their new director turned out to be the same man that I had been swapping jokes with at our informal seminars; think at one time I called him my favorite huggable; it seems he is my height.

Jerome Alexander

Several years ago I wrote a book on the subject of workplace culture and employee morale. It is as relevant today as it was then. Employee morale is directly linked to the interaction of employees with line managers who are charged with executing the policies and strategies of companies. Unfortunately, many of these managers subvert the good intentions of the organization to meet their own personal goals and agendas at the expense of their peers and subordinates. This management subculture is a direct result of a corporate culture of ignorance, indifference and excuse. Better corporate level leadership is the key. Read more in "160 Degrees of Deviation: The Case for the Corporate Cynic."

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