Issue: March 2011, Leadership at Every Level

Denise Zaporzan & Associates

Earlier this year I attended a fundraising lunch in support of Keeping Abreast, which was organized by Sigurdson McFadden.

The luncheon's keynote speaker was national radio personality, Maureen Holloway, and her topic was "Humour in the Workplace."

Maureen's talk that day was my inspiration for this month's article.




Denise Zaporzan
Denise Zaporzan, CMA, FCMA
President, Denise Zaporzan & Associates

The right amount of funny is money 


Old bankers' joke: Why did the man freeze his money? Because he wanted cold, hard cash.


Even that bad joke can't change the fact that there are many benefits to laughing, at home, work, and in your heart itself: laughter increases blood flow to the brain, relaxes muscles and reduces stress.


In fact, researchers at Vanderbilt University in Nashville have found that laughing for 10 to 15 minutes a day can burn enough calories to lose over four pounds a year.


Humor in the workplace.

In the workplace, humor can be a powerful tool, though the old comedy adage holds true: "If it bends, it's funny, if it breaks, it's not."


In other words, if you're lousy at humor, you should use it with caution - think of Ricky Gervais as David Brent in the British version of The Office, the self-professed "chilled-out entertainer," whose "jokes" - like pretending to fire his best employee - are hilarious for all the wrong reasons.


Done properly, laughter can increase a person's satisfaction, help build teams and relationships, and enhance leadership skills. If employees are satisfied and enjoy coming to work, then they will be more productive and happier.


How and why should leaders use humor? 

As a leader, humor can be a powerful tool.


A Winnipeg comic who writes jokes for corporate CEOs notes that the jokes that always get laughs at the leadership level are - not surprisingly - jokes that are self-deprecating. People like people who can laugh at themselves, and it's refreshing to see that in action at the corporate level.


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