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Cracking Up the Corporate Ladder: Humour’s Role in Leadership Development

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So what makes a good leader?
“When you have a good leader, they let people be free to be themselves and that allows them to flow more and have an environment which supports difference and diversity. To get to that flow state, to get to those performance states, you need to be being as close to yourself as possible. You need to be as relaxed as possible. It’s about the leader creating a good environment.”Ebony Rainford-Brent


Ebony Rainford-Brent

Being a fantastic leader in the corporate world requires the perfect storm of charisma, intelligence, and skill. Fortunately, leadership is not just a talent but a skill that you can develop through learning and practice. When it comes to learning how to lead, laughter may be just what the corporate doctor ordered.

In the Harvard Business Review Executive Editor Alison Beard says,

“The workplace needs laughter. According to research from institutions as serious as Wharton, MIT, and London Business School, every chuckle or guffaw brings with it a host of business benefits. Laughter relieves stress and boredom, boosts engagement and well-being, and spurs not only creativity and collaboration but also analytic precision and productivity.”


Building a Culture of Community

“Good leaders and good businesses should want happy, healthy, relaxed staff. Because that is where not only do you get the best out of people, but the best teams are also formed, the best results are created for whatever industry you’re in. In a socially distanced workplace, you must invest in things that are going to bring you together. For most people, laughter is a great way to do that.” – Georgie Holt


Georgie Holt

Great leaders know how to pop the bubble of pomposity and build a workplace culture that is beneficial to everyone involved. Great leaders use humour to make everyone feel welcome and valued. In toxic work environments, leaders may use fear to inspire better work. Great leaders build connections and share laughter to minimize fear and maximize creativity.

Leaders who approach their work and their relationships with a great sense of humour can more effectively build a workplace culture that is less hindered by hardships. When a leader can guide their team through troubled waters with a laugh, success is sure to come.

Communicate Clearly and Collaborate Creatively

“The key to business success is a happy and healthy workforce who are prepared to be innovative and think differently. You’re going to get happier, healthier, more innovative workflows if you encourage people to enjoy themselves.” – Alastair Campbell 


Great business leaders can act like the glue that holds creative teams together. When you focus on clear and open communication, you can build connections with your creative teams that will build a culture where everyone feels free to collaborate.

Leaders that encourage their employees to try new things will inspire creative solutions to the most difficult problems. When we approach leadership with laughter, we show everyone that failure is not to be feared when trying new things.

Great leaders don’t take themselves too seriously and allow others to use humour to minimize tension during collaboration. A leader who values laughter is more likely to get the best results from employees and colleagues. When creative people feel comfortable around their leaders, true innovation is soon to follow.


Use Humour to Power Through Problems

Every great leader in every great business has made a mistake. When leaders don’t take themselves too seriously, they can more easily work through any problems they may encounter. A leader with no sense of humour may shut down in the face of hardships while a leader who is willing to laugh, can address the problem and better prepare for next time.

Humour allows us to see the humanity in ourselves and those around us. When we approach leadership with a sense of humour, we can see the people behind the problem. As a leader you must guide others and yourself towards the humanity in every hard situation. By doing this, you show others that mistakes can be made and learned from. This culture and mutual understanding can lead to innovation and exceptional teamwork.

Lead with Laughter and Learn

The tenants of Humourology can help guide budding leaders into the best of bosses. By leaning into laughter, leaders can build trust with their teams that will translate over into productivity, collaboration, and an exceptional workplace culture.

See you next Tuesday.


Paul x

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