The humour advantage in managing people

“A sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower

Who said that people management had to be such a serious business? 

There are so many good (and profitable) reasons to embrace humour, light-heartedness and all things the opposite of seriousness if you want a productive workforce.

Happy staff are productive staff – this has been proven time and again and could be considered one of the laws of people management.

Our monetised view of work has meant that we have sought to create  “happy staff” by using benefits such as wages and incentive schemes. 

We have also tied happiness to working conditions such as office sizes, coffee machines and providing the latest IT equipment.  Unfortunately these factors don’t move people up the happiness scale for very long.

One simple and inexpensive way to create a more productive workforce is to introduce enjoyment and humour at work. 

Let me give you an example, about 10 years ago I was coaching an Executive Manager on engagement and culture change initiatives in his very conservative, low risk tolerant workplace. As is usually the case the learning was two ways as he introduced me to the power of plat at work.

He kept an oversized pair of clown shoes under his desk and in full view of anyone entering the room. 

He explained this as a way he could show people that there was more to him than the title he wore. His message was clear, although he took his work very seriously, he didn’t take himself too seriously, he had a sense of humour and amongst all the stress, there was still time to play.  This gave others permission to do the same.

The impact of a leader willing to lead with some play was astonishing. He created a true open communication environment for his 300 staff, people were encouraged to balance the heaviness of their responsibilities with some light-heartedness and grievances and stress claims were reduced as a result.  And employee engagement levels for his area were also through the roof.

Here are 10 reasons why simple cost free humour is a key to success at work thanks to Forbes Magazine.

  • People will enjoy working with you
  • Humour is a potent stress buster
  • It’s humanising
  • It puts others at ease
  • It’s a key ingredient in creative thinking
  • It helps build trust
  • It boosts morale
  • People who use humour tend to be more approachable
  • Humour can allow your company to standout
  • It can increase productivity

If you would like to learn more about creating happier and more successful workplace cultures and improving staff morale please come and look me up at

Until next month

Andrea Tunjic

Strategic HR and Leadership Coaching

PS: I’m super approachable, if you need a fresh set of eyes to help with any of your people management problems, please get in touch.

Our human resources article this month has been contributed by Andrea Tunjic (CAHRI) 

Andrea is an award winning Leadership and Human Resources Strategist.

With a diverse career spanning 25 years in the people management space, Andrea has earned a 360 degree perspective on work. She started out as a union official, has worked as a senior HR manager, lead her own small businesses, consults in all aspects of people leadership and business improvement strategies to organizations throughout Australia and has written a book on the topic called People Power.

She is also the creator of a range of online leadership courses aimed at helping managers become more effective leaders and teams to Vibe Up.  She is also the is the developer of ICoachMe, a self-coaching process that has been recognised by the International Coaching Federation. Andrea’ s approach to people management is engaging, knowledgeable and practical with an unwavering commitment to empowering staff and leaders to work to their best, resolve problems well and enable them to become happier, more empowered and more successful at work