An increasing body of research demonstrates that when leaders lighten up and create a fun workplace, there is a significant increase in the level of employee trust, creativity and communication — leading to lower turnover, higher morale and a stronger bottom line.
Chief executive of a New York medical education start-up, David Lenihan noticed a quirk when he watched himself in playback on the instructional videos he was recording. Every time he entered the screening room to present to camera, he tripped.
He made a joke about his clumsiness and carried on. But time and again, he continued to stumble.
Then he realised he was not the only one — his colleagues were tripping, too. And they all dealt with it in the same way: they cracked a self-deprecating joke and moved on.
What struck Mr Lenihan was the collective denial: “Nobody was talking about it,” he says. “Or asking why we were all tripping all the time.
The research also shows that managers who have taught themselves to be funnier are more effective communicators and better salespeople, have more engaged employees, earn a lot more than their peers and are much thinner. OK, maybe not the last one.