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Segment 7 (18) The Role of Humor in the Workplace

Started by Paul Terlemezian in Georgia LEARNS 2018. Last reply by Paul Terlemezian Nov 18. 7 Replies

Segment 3 (18) Performance Analytics

Started by Paul Terlemezian in Georgia LEARNS 2018. Last reply by Bill Crose Nov 12. 6 Replies

Segment 10 (18) CEO Readiness

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Segment 2 (18) Workforce Readiness

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Segment 1 (18) - Performance Assurance

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Segment 6 (18) Life-long Learning

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Segment 5 (18) Being a Great Employee

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Segment 4 (18) Assessments

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Panelists:

Moderator: Frank Baia https://www.linkedin.com/in/frankbaia/

Remarkable Speaker: June Cline https://www.linkedin.com/in/june-cline-csp-264547/

Humor like many forms of human behavior can be used appropriately - or not.

Is there room for humor in the workplace? How can it impact performance?

How can we avoid the inherent risks?

What techniques have you used to leverage the power of humor - in the workplace?

What risks of humor are mitigated by having strong personal relationships?

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I have found that humor can help draw out team and individual issues before they become a significant problem. Humor can also bring a team closer - create unique moments, and break the tension when pressure is high. Professionals know boundaries, so inherent risks should be easy to manage, but leaders lead by example and I have always started with making fun of myself so that It helps people understand the type of humor that is acceptable and feel confident that the ask is truly with good intentions.

I take humor very seriously... (wait for it) During my education, I supplemented my income by working in Comedy Clubs around Florida. I witnessed some of the funniest people on Earth during this time, and some of the worst. It was invaluable experience.

My job over the last 25 years, has been as an executive recruiter. Cold calling has changed over the years, but still is a difficult job, that some people can't do. (I will spare you the other toughest job I had, while in Jr. College, which was knocking on doors for Electrolux. Where I was number one on the SE working part time) 

Humor is who I am, and I know I am connecting with someone, as soon as I make them laugh. I agree with Terry's comment, with the caveat "MOST" professionals know boundaries. I knew a Bank President who not only sent an inappropriate email joke out, he accidentally sent it out to the entire bank's employee list. This was catastrophic for him, and although a mistake, if he knew the boundaries of professional role he played, he never would have sent it in the first place.

Humor is diverse, from slapstick to practical jokes, From puns to limericks and anecdotes to one liners. Images can be funny... but what makes people laugh? 

One person will laugh at the Three Stooges, and another will be deeply offended by the violence. What I think is funny, may trigger a dramatic response from someone else. 

Humor is a mystery. 

Funny thing about humor... (wait for it) 

Let's all tell a quick joke and look at the diversity of our sense of Humor?

I will start: (stop me if you heard this? ) 

A teen goes to Summer camp, and is trying his best to fit in, and make new friends. At lunch he watches, mystified, as one teen after the other, gets up and says a Number, and everyone laughs.

"13" LOL

"26" LOL

Finally he has to know, and he asks the kid next to him, "What is going on here"

The teen leans over and explains "We all know all the same jokes, so we numbered them. They are telling jokes!"

"Oh I get it!" and so the teen gets up and says "21" and no one laughs... dejected he sits down and the kid next to him leans in and said "Well some can tell em and some can't"

Give it your best shot ans let's see what we all think is funny? 

 

I've always wanted to be a comedian but every time I tried - people laughed at me - so I gave up.

So now I am trying to be a futurist instead. I study trends in other industries and help my training industry clients be ready for the future. Not sure that is working though. Someone asked me who I thought would run for office during the next Presidential election year - to which I responded - I don't know - my optometrist tells me I have 20/60 vision - you need to ask someone with 20/20 vision...(wait for groans.)

I think you bring up a wonderful point of humor, along with self-awareness.  I think humor is used best in the work place when it's self-deprecating.  Personally, I find it's much harder with groups of people, varying levels of trust/experience with one another, etc.  You've got to have a very well-tuned antenna to use humor well in the work place.  Personally, I gravitate to use self-deprecating humor as I find there's something about adding vulnerability to increase trust building with others.  I can't recall anyone becoming offended when I make fun of myself.

While reading about this segment I was reminded of the Martha Stewart Garden Center eLearning development project I managed for Kmart. Imagine the challenge; satisfy the super-persnickety Martha Stewart as well as the desperate to satisfy Martha Stewart, Kmart Corporation! We designed humor into the program and extended it to daily Garden Center work by playing on Martha's reputation. We primarily over-reminded associates/learners with random audio & images of Martha saying, "Don't forget to water my plants!" We also heavily used Martha's philosophy of learning being fun and tactic of presenting "Did you Know?" facts. So much more to the story, but it occurs to me that workplace humor and Martha's "Did you Know" tactic serve the same purpose; to make work more fun by breaking up the monotony. As Adyton helps clients verbally deliver their processes one step-at-a-time to people working with their hands, we'll encourage our clients to include a little fun. Luckily, our system will enable clients to easily edit their processes, then deliver them globally in an instant. Maybe a joke a day? Maybe a Kwanzaa or Diwali "Did you Know" for fun & diversity?      (Did you know Diwali is celebrated on Nov. 6 or 7 this year and is India's most celebrated holiday?)

Conference Reflection:

My company verbally delivers step-by-step directions (SOPs) on demand, in any language, to a WiFi earphone, then reports the time used to complete each step. Simply regurgitating the SOP would suffice; add humor and "Bob's yer uncle"!  

For those of us developing content for international audiences, humor that effectively crosses all cultures is difficult. Alternatively, maybe intersperse statements celebrating diversity or "Did You Know" quick & interesting facts related to the process/task. Every day has interesting historical significance. I'm now thinking of adding a quick reference in our power up greeting. "Always remember the 5th of November." 

Thanks all for the conversation and to Lisa for taking the lead on this topic!   

Here is what HBR has to say about this topic - https://hbr.org/2018/11/the-benefits-of-laughing-in-the-office

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