12 Ways to Get Serious about Fun

The law of the sad face says the more important leaders are the less they smile.

You can’t milk fun out of self-important, problem-centric leaders.


Fun seems frivolous when issues are important, opportunities vanish quickly, and problems are pressing. You don’t want people laughing when times are challenging, or, do you?

Serious fun:

Get serious about fun or it won’t get done.

If you can’t have fun when deadlines are pressing, results matter deeply, and people are imperfect, you won’t have fun at all.

12 ways to get serious about fun:

  1. Determine if you value fun. Do you really want laughter in the halls?
  2. Appoint a Chief Fun Officer (CFO). Assign fun-making to a different person every week. Their job is to surprise everyone with fun at least once a week. If you’re really brave, try having fun once a day, but, be careful, don’t shock the system.
  3. Enforce a smile rule. You have two minutes, at the beginning of meetings, to create smiles on the team. Tell a corny joke for goodness sake. Fake smiles are nearly as useful as real.
  4. Greet people in the morning. Walk to every office, smile and say good morning. If the team is remote, call them.
  5. Learn about people’s lives outside work, encourage philanthropy, ask about grandma.
  6. Share food together as a team.
  7. Invite teammates for lunch – for no good reason – just to get to know them. Make people feel they matter.
  8. Recognize and reward fun-makers.
  9. Celebrate success. Begin meetings by asking, “What’s working?”
  10. Establish fake smile hour. From 11:00 a.m. to noon everyone smiles whether you feel like it or not. You might start with fake smile 10 minutes.
  11. Create a fun budget. How much time, energy, and resources are dedicated to fun in your organization?
  12. Call out killjoys. Some people refuse to have fun. Have fun without them.

What makes leaders great at so many things and lousy at fun?

How can leaders create fun environments?