How can we even ignore an important element of social dynamics of the organizations we work at? Humor, often seen as positive deliberations is majorly perceived as invoking positive emotions. It is one of the fine-tuned keys to influence and getting work done. Although it cannot be ignored that decoding humor completely depends on interpretation by receiver.
Meyer (2000) quotes humor is a double edged sword, it can both be a unifier or a divider which may delineate social boundaries. There has been a considerable amount of research done on humor as a mode of communication.
Where humorous situations may have an immediate likeability, it could be one of the best ways to get attention and share the message. People may attribute causes and concerns while processing the information, however, it is an excellent way of learning on “what not to” and “how to”.
The following are some of the key characteristics of humor as a management instrument:
Humor has intent
Humor is more than a laughing out loud (LOL). The intention to convey the real through reel is of immense importance. Much can be delivered through proper preparation in term of content and delivery.
Organizations can use humor to train employees on certain tasks. Prof. S.K. Nandi (ICFAI Business School, Pune; Pursuing Ph.D. from XLRI, Jamshedpur) exemplified scenes from a classic movie Modern Times, written by Charlie Chaplin. He considers classic comics like these as a form of manifested learning for industry functionality and valuable lessons for assembly line workers. The sincerity with which one’s observes and create jibes becomes learner’s delight.
Humor has an interface with emotions
Humor stimulates the hormonal functioning and secretes endorphins which in result makes a person happy. It also gives triumph like feeling for the person who conveys. This sense of achievement also invokes leadership qualities in a person. There are ample researches which mention happy people perform better.
Humor creates the social sphere
Humor instigates quality of life. Not denying the other edge of the sword but it is observed that people bond better on humor. The environment favoring joviality is appreciated by people. The short humorous breaks are refreshing and at times catharsis for people. It leads to better coordination and connection and makes the cubicles more fun to work. Indeed, quality of life is a strong indicator of performance affecting the overall well-being of the employees. Research also says that people’s social relationships are affected by preference over humor styles.
Humor affects the culture of the organization
There is no well-defined threshold for acceptability of humor, certainly positive humor affects the culture of the organization. There are pieces of evidence that attrition is lower where work culture is good. Prof. Supriya Chouthoy (Educator, Symbiosis School of Liberal Arts, Pune) opines that humor can be cynical at times and may affect the genetic makeup of the environment ultimately having long-term repercussions on the culture.
It is appropriate to say having a sense of humor is one of the key competencies which adds to desired skill set. Most of the messages shared in a humorous way are uncensored and gets an immediate acknowledgment. Positive humor is seen as advancing career, enhanced cognitive thinking, engaging and participatory leadership, management of stress, balancing work/web life etc. Good humor is a thing of wise and one should be observant enough to create, cope and crack a one.