Is Leadership a Laughing Matter?

Contemporary-thinking leaders within successful organizations around the globe have learned the importance of laughter in the workplace. One of my first consulting assignments for clients is to have leaders assess the type of and amount of humor within their four walls. Why? Because the presence of laughter is an audible sign of a healthy Cohesion Culture™.

From countless articles written on the subject and produced over the years by newsworthy publications such as Harvard Business Review, HR Magazine, and Forbes, the thread of benefits has remained unchanged. Laughter reduces stress and boredom, boosts well-being, and enhances relationship building. When handled properly, it supports all aspects of belonging, value, and commitment found in Cohesion Cultures. People relate to humor, and let’s not forget … laughter is contagious.

Humor Is the Glue That Binds

Through the bonding process of building cohesive teams, humor is often used to develop the affiliation between team members within groups as well as throughout the organization. People who love the people they work with and love where they work will stick around. This form of positive camaraderie embellishes and cements how people can successfully work together daily. People naturally want to belong, and when the environment is relaxed, yet purpose-driven, the results of togetherness are increased proportionally without a detriment to performance. It’s a win-win for leaders and employees.

Leaders who encourage fun and good-natured interactions at work are more likely to help others experience the value of relationships and see the positive effects of joyfully contributing to shared outcomes. Cohesive teams are led by leaders who emphasize the pursuit of performance, not perfection.

Laugh All Day Long

Here is a helpful acronym to help you remember how and why humor should be a paramount element in the workplace.

L – Lots of productive work happens when people are agreeable and enjoy each other’s company — no need for the overlord or taskmaster to hang around and sneer at every unplanned move.

A – Almost every team with a relaxed persona and intentional work ethic produces faster, more, and better.

U – Unless the leader is so formal that even a good belly laugh hurts the cheekbones, people who laugh together tend to like each other and enjoy where they work. Researchers claim 87% of employees would instead work for a little less pay to have a job they love than receive more money and dislike the environment, people, and workload.

G – Good-natured fun takes the edge off, especially when the work is high pressured, requires hours of intense concentration, or it is mundane and minutiae-filled. Taking a fun break improves focus and effort when the individual returns to the task at hand.

H – How one feels at work goes a long way to creating that ultimate Cohesion Culture™ where people want to belong, understand their value, and commit to personal and organizational success.

Does your workplace take the time to focus on using humor to increase productivity and retention? How are you working to deepen the relationships in the workplace? Please share your stories and tips below!

To learn more about the leadership values that can positively impact your team and create a Cohesion Culture™️, connect with Dr. Troy here.


Dr. Troy Hall is the Chief Strategy Officer for South Carolina Federal Credit Union, a $1.8B financial cooperative with over 165,000 members. With a Ph.D. in Global Leadership and Entrepreneurship, Dr. Troy has earned the designation as an International Development Educator. As the author of Cohesion Culture: Proven Principles to Retain Your Top Talent, his book showcases how and why South Carolina Federal Credit Union has been named a “Best Places To Work” by Glassdoor, the Credit Union Industry, and State of South Carolina.

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