You’re Joking: Leadership and Humor
Keywords: Leadership, humor, stress, communications
AbstractThis article was compiled from Dr. Heath’s dissertation literature review on leadership and humor. Excerpts from the review are used tosummarize the connection between leadership and humor.The diverse nature of leadership makes it an easy target for humor. Although leadership affords a rich resource for humor, it has beenhistorically viewed as a very serious enterprise that demands a sober demeanor. Additionally, when improperly applied, humor can havea very negative effect on a leader’s image and credibility. Thus, the use of humor has been discouraged.However, research has found humor to be more than just funny stories, puns, or physical pranks; it is a complex, multifunction leadershipskill that can, if properly applied, reduce stress, improve leadership effectiveness, enhance team building, augment communication,spawn imagination, and advance organizational culture.For the most part, leadership studies have consigned humor to the role of an unwanted trespasser, but those who practice effective leadershipknow better. Current research is revealing that humor should not be considered a threat to leadership but rather a valuable resource.