In the last rule, "Learn to let it go" we talked about letting go of past hurt and bitterness. In this rule, we are addressing how to "Let Go". Once your read this rule, you will see the difference. By following both of these rules, you will find a path to success much more attainable. For this and more Rules for Your Success, Click Here. Sign up for our FREE newsletter to receive the most current and up to date Success Rule.
Lighten up, let your hair down, have a little fun. As they say, "time flies when you're having fun". Having a little fun on the job can help build rapport with those around you, facilitate open communication, and contribute to a positive work environment. Perhaps more importantly, a little humor can work to relieve tension on even the most stressful of days.
Keep in mind however, not all high jinx are well received. It's crucial to take into consideration your organization's culture and co-workers' perspectives when it comes to comic relief. Humor should be work appropriate and never mean spirited or at the expense of others . . . always use good judgment.
Avoid controversy. If there's even a question in your mind that your humor might offend your co-workers or spark an argument, go a different route.
Say no to sarcasm. People sometimes attempt to disguise sarcasm as humor and an indirect way of berating others. Sarcasm is rarely a good idea, so keep these types of comments to yourself.
Don't be a nuisance. There is a time and a place for everything. Know your office culture. Know the people you work with. And, don't send spam emails to people who don't want them. Don't forget, there's still a job to do.
There are of course certain days of the year that lend themselves to bringing humor to the office, April Fools, Halloween, co-worker birthdays to name a few, but no need to start or stop there. Bring humor to staff meetings with a cartoon or a joke; take turns bringing them to the table. You have a file for everything else; create a "Funny File". Have fun saying, "Thank you". Give a co-worker a Baby Ruth candy bar, for hitting, "The ball out of the park" on a recent task. One time I gave a Chief Master Sergeant, a plastic fireman's helmet that said 'Chief' for saving my butt and helping me to put out some fires in the office the week before.
Here are some April Fools' jokes that have been observed in an office environment. Use double sided tape underneath a colleague's mouse so it doesn't move. Using an old but similar looking keyboard, fill it with loose dirt, some grass seed, after watering it for a while and once the grass has grown, replace the co-workers keyboard with the one with grass. Turn everything backward in one person's office -- the computer, desk and pictures; change the keys on a keyboard; fill a colleague's office with balloons.
Other ways to keep things lighthearted around the office:
Be the butt of your own joke. Go ahead, poke fun at yourself. Doing so can put others at ease in your presence, and you don't risk offending someone else by making him or her the target of your joke.
Learn to laugh with others. You can be perceived as having a great sense of humor without ever telling a joke. Just tune in to the humor styles of those around you and share in the fun.
Convene a fun committee. Invite co-workers to join in your quest to "up the office fun factor." Together, brainstorm ways to add excitement to the workweek -- Just be sure to consult your department head before executing any plans; you'll want to obtain his or her approval and determine other details, such as budget and scheduling.
Issue trivia quizzes via email. Most people enjoy keeping up with pop culture, why not create a friendly competition around it? You also can grill people on sports, geography or food -- whatever topics the team finds interesting. Even if the only prize for answering the most questions correctly is posting the name of the winner in a prominent spot, the joy of conjuring up random information and discussing the "stumpers" can increase the general playfulness of any work area.
Capture Kodak moments. Keep the cell phone cameras on hand for all to use and capture those moments when you and your colleagues are at your best -- or worst. Then, post the pictures on a community bulletin board, internal email or intranet. Ask for captions. Had I thought about it, a candid snapshot of the Chief wearing a kiddy fireman's helmet would have brought a lot of laughs (Be sure to ask the subject(s) of your photo their permission before submitting or posting)
A culture of fun at work can improve communication, reduce stress and increase productivity. Flexing your funny bone can significantly enhance your professional prospects. Remember, in a recent survey, ninety-one percent of executives consider a sense of humor important to career advancement. Don't be afraid to flex your funny bone -- just be sure to do so in a business-appropriate way. See aprilfoolzone.com for more antics.
Go ahead, Yuck it up! Be Extraordinary!
Founder & CEO
Leader Development Institute