“A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.” —Phyllis Diller
When we create a work environment where people can be themselves—where there is camaraderie, and lightheartedness—productivity increases.
When I think about the best jobs I’ve ever had, they were always the ones where I liked what I was doing, and where the whole team had fun working together. Places that made me feel like I was a part of something.
And you know what? That fun and sense of connection in turn drove productivity.
When there is genuine lightheartedness at a work place, there’s sharing, laughter, and trust—all of which fuels performance.
Today we’re exploring some of the ways that you can create a culture of lightheartedness in your workplace.
Facilitating open communication is the first step to a lighthearted culture. Be authentic and inspire others to be the same.
Once you set the tone for open communication, the stage is set for sharing laughter and humor about work and other things.
Having open communication as part of your workplace may be counter-intuitive, but the investment of listening and talking to your team about their ideas and feelings creates a culture of trust. And that opens up the way for humor, laughter, and lightheartedness.
We’ve all heard that laughter is the best medicine. Well, sharing funny stories and encouraging laughter builds trust. Studies indicate that there is a correlation between laughter and trust. We tend to trust people more who share an open, healthy sense of humor because humor helps us come across as more human and more real.
Also, the most stressful times at work are easier to navigate when infused with a bit of humor. Laughter is our built-in pressure release valve, releasing endorphins and lowering stress.
Let’s face it—there is usually lots to do, and taking time to share stories and laughter can feel like it’s interfering with the workflow. But here’s the deal, when your team feels connected to each other, they are more likely to ask for support when they need it, and support others in turn.
Set time aside at your team meetings for connection. Create rituals that become a part of your culture and give your team the opportunity to open up, share, and laugh. Maybe every Monday morning everyone gets to share whatever they want about their weekend. Have a time when everyone gets to share their pet peeve. It’s amazing how easy it is to fix some of these things, and your team will feel heard.
These types of things don’t have to take lots of time and will boost your team’s rapport.
Another way to create lightheartedness in the workplace is to recognize achievements and work well done.
In his article, “Employee recognition that is meaningful”, Michael Kerr gives several pointers:
Who? Who would the person most appreciate receiving the honor from?
When and Where? Is the honor being bestowed in a timely enough fashion to be meaningful and in a location that is special to the person?
Why? Does everyone understand the rationale for the honor, how it links to your team’s success, and the overall success/purpose of your organization?
How? Is the honor being bestowed in a manner than the person would appreciate?
Lightheartedness is About How You Show Up
How do you come to work? Are you stressed out? Does everyone feel your stress?
Remember that as a leader it begins with you.
If you are lighthearted, chances are your team will take their cue and mirror you. As you create a culture lightheartedness, you’ll feel it for yourself, and so will your team.
So next time you’re setting intention for your business, set the intention for more fun in your workplace. You’ll reap the benefits of lightening things up, creating more for your business and your work relationships and increasing productivity.