How to put some fun into your role as a manager

Just because you're a manager, you don’t have to be all buttoned-down and grim. In fact, bringing a little levity to your role as a manager can make you and those around you more relaxed and effective. The best managers in any organisation aren't afraid to show the world that they have a sense of humour they enjoy using. Nor should you be. Humour is good for your career and for your health...

1. Know the value of humour to your own well-being.

Many managers often underestimate the value of humour. Research has shown that it not only offers a most effective tool for engaging and relating to staff, but can also relieve stress, defuse a situation, promote trust and team bonding, restore our equilibrium, deflate our pomposity, reveal our essential humanity, offer us new perspectives, and help us to soar above the mundane in our job. It has been shown that people with a sense of humour do a better job, are more creative, less rigid, and more willing to try new ideas and methods. As one commentator writes:

"Humour must come into your work, because a lot of what happens stops at your door - you deal in crisis management mode all day. And unless you can hit back with humour and a bit of light-heartedness, you'll find the job extremely depressing. It's your pressure valve - Humour is the ability to celebrate, to enjoy something that's a little out of the ordinary. And the fact that you can take delight in it, and celebrate it by laughing and sharing it with others - that is humour*."

In short, humour can help you and others to cope. What more could a busy manager ask for?

2. Look for humour around you.

It's everywhere - in the newspaper, as you commute, in the staffroom, in the office or factory - and recognising it can make your days less dour. You have at your fingertips a gold-mine of humorous anecdotes from your own workplace - like the factory supervisor who asked a worker everyone called 'Slow Joe' why it was he always carried only one box while all his co-workers carried two. 'I guess they're just too lazy to make two trips like I do,' Joe replied.

3. Find a model.

Think of people who have a great sense of humour - colleagues, relatives, personal friends, or even well-known comedians. Then, when faced with a stressful situation, think of how these people would react. Remember Rodney Dangerfield's motto, 'Look out for Number One, but don't step in Number Two'. It's a good rule for managers - and a sure stress-buster.

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