7 Ways to Rise Above Grumpy Leadership

A leader who never laughs has an unhappy team.

Happy people go further than grumps. And they enjoy the journey.

Laughing baby.

A leader who never laughs leads an unhappy team.

Order of operation:

Happy people are more successful than grumps.

You might believe happiness follows success. But Shawn Achor’s research indicates you have it backwards. Happiness causes success.

You don’t have to be emotional to have heart. But leading with heart requires emotion.

Influence and contagion:

“Leadership is influence.” John Maxwell

Emotions influence.

Emotion transmits easier and quicker than cold or flu. If you seldom smile or laugh, close the door to your office. Turn off the camera on video calls. Protect people from toxic grumpiness.

If you never laugh, stay away.

  1. Laughter connects.
  2. Laughter energizes.
  3. Laughter strengthens.

7 ways to rise above grumpy leadership:

#1. Begin meetings with short stories.

Take turns telling a funny story about yourself. I was recently asked about an embarrassing moment when I was speaking.

I remember the time I was confused about how long my keynote was scheduled. I spoke right through break time and into the breakout sessions that were scheduled. Doh!! (Now, I always double check the schedule before I speak.)

#2. Laughter walkabout.

Walk around asking, “What made you laugh today?” (… this week?)

#3. Have lunch with a person who laughs.

#4. Tell a joke.

“Those who can tell a good joke are viewed as more competent.” NIH

Don’t worry about being funny.

Corny jokes do the same thing as ‘funny’ jokes.

#5. Assign joke telling.

One team member comes to meetings with a joke to tell or read. Or everyone takes a turn at being the joke teller.

#6. Practice gratitude.

Laughter follows gratitude. Write down one point of gratitude everyday in a gratitude journal.

#7. Like people.

Think about something you like about the person you’re talking with. Let yourself smile.

What concerns you about laughter and leadership?

How might leaders bring laughter into leadership?

Bonus material:

Stress relief from laughter? It’s no joke – Mayo Clinic

Emotions are contagious: Learn what science and research has to say about it – MSU Extension