When I was in America earlier this year facilitating a Leadership Program, the manager of the training facility commented on how much laughter was resonating through the walls of the meeting room. She said that she'd never heard so much laughter during a leadership program, or indeed any program.
It got me thinking about the topic of fun. Fun in the training room and fun in the workplace. I like to have fun. Laughing and having fun is a good measure of success in my leadership programs and in my workplace at People for Success. The more fun, the more creativity, the more inspiration, the more of everything good; really.
Although it wasn't always that way for me. When I first started in the workplace some twenty years ago I found work to be very serious indeed. In fact, the quieter the workplace; the more serious, the more work was being done and the happier my bosses were and the less engaged I was. Less engagement in my work means less energy for my work.
The plain truth is that there is a balance to achieve between fun and working conscientiously to get the job done. I like to have fun when I'm being creative, innovative and coming up with ideas to meet the needs of my clients. When I'm relaxed and playful I'm at my most creative and when I'm tense I'm at my least creative.
When there are schedules to develop, plans to execute and budgets to develop then conscientiousness is my perfect state. I can achieve both a creative and a conscientious state when I need them.
Some leaders believe that laughter means a lack of productivity; but I disagree. Laughter means the team is getting along well and enjoying each other’s company. This ultimately means that the team will achieve the goals (as long as they are clear and compelling). Laughter also means that people are enjoying their work and workplaces. En(joy)ing means more joy and the more joy, the more energy; the more energy, the more commitment and so forth.
In conclusion, when you hear the laughter and playfulness of your team then you know they are getting along well and focusing their energy on teamwork and the achievement of common goals.
So, have you heard the joke where the horse walks in the bar?
A horse walks into a bar, and the bartender asks, "Why the long face?" (It’s my favourite)