3 Ways to Unleash the Power of Humor

Woman Laughing At Desk In Design Studio
THE BIG IDEA: Humor is powerful core value that you and your organization can utilize to grow and flourish in foolish, remarkable, and unexpected ways.


Humor is serious business for numerous Cult Brands. Some have even created unique positions within their organization, like a President of Fun or Chief Executive Optimist, to make humor a genuine part of their culture.

Here are three ways you can use humor to positively impact your organization:

Use Humor to Lead

Joking around in the office helps people lower their guard and participate in discussions without fear of saying something wrong.

Most people have been conditioned to repress their best ideas out of fear of saying something stupid or of looking stupid—especially in front of the boss. This inner critic or judge hinders people’s ability to freely express themselves. Humor can help relax this tension and promote free expression from your team.

One trap many leaders fall into is the use of “put-down” humor—making jokes that might be funny, but that come at an employee’s expense. Although funny at first, put-down humor leads to hurt feelings. These hurt feelings shut people down, reducing collaboration and increasing interpersonal tensions.

Bonding humor, in contrast, is used to reduce tension in uncomfortable situations. This is good-natured humor used by warm, kind people (think Ellen DeGeneres). This is a better way to create lasting partnerships with team members in all areas of your organization.

Use Humor to Attract Amazing Employees

Companies that honor humor as a core value attract special individuals that foster a fun workplace.

Flying planes year after year can be gruelling for even the most enthusiastic pilot. But by adding humor to the workplace companies like Southwest Airlines keep their employees mindfully engaged in giving their customers a pleasant travel experience.

Google trains its executives to adopt a similar viewpoint, teaching executives to see mistakes as bloopers and to not take them so seriously.

Use Humor to Create Unforgettable Advertising

There is no question that some brands are more conducive to having fun than others. But just because your business is more “serious,” doesn’t mean you can’t inject a little fun into your advertising.

YouTube recently set out to measure the ways viewers remember brand messages and what methods are most effective in raising brand awareness.

With access to vast amounts of data, YouTube discovered critical information on what works: across the board, regardless of the category, humor scored the highest with both raising brand awareness and recall of the brand.

Most marketing efforts tap into either awareness or recall, not both. This study shows that humor is a powerful tool for elevating your marketing messages. In a world where consumers can easily ignore your message, humor can still hold their attention.

People smiling in your advertisements also scored high on the list.

Thrive on Funny

The core value of humor can improve your health, increase your ability to relate to others, reduce employee attrition, and support new customer growth.

Humor in the workplace is certainly not something to laugh at. Humor is your ally on your path to growth.

How can you find ways to have fun at work?

As Jimmy Buffett said, “If you go with your instincts and keep your humor, creativity follows. With luck, success comes, too.”

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