Quality #4: Sense of Humor

    Quote from Forbes Article:

    If your website crashes, you lose that major client, or your funding dries up, guiding your team through the process without panicking is as challenging as it is important. Morale is linked to productivity, and it’s your job as the team leader to instill a positive energy. That’s where your sense of humor will finally pay off. Encourage your team to laugh at the mistakes instead of crying. If you are constantly learning to find the humor in the struggles, your work environment will become a happy and healthy space, where your employees look forward to working in, rather than dreading it. Make it a point to crack jokes with your team and encourage personal discussions of weekend plans and trips. It’s these short breaks from the task at hand that help keep productivity levels high and morale even higher.

    At Onevest, we place a huge emphasis on humor and a light atmosphere. Our office is dog friendly, and we really believe it is the small, light hearted moments in the day that help keep our work creative and fresh. One tradition that we like to do and brings the team closer is we plan a fun prank on all new employees, on their first day. It breaks the ice and immediately creates that sense of familiarity.

    This is one of the suggestions that I think they got a tiny bit wrong. I agree that nobody wants to work in a place that is completely un-fun, but I think maybe they used the word “humor” when they should have used the word “positivity”. At least in special events, when things are going wrong, it’s extremely poor taste to mask the problems with humor. In fact, it can lose you clients. I certainly would not advocate using humor when things are going wrong.

    The key phrase, though, I DO agree with: “Morale is linked to productivity, and it’s your job as the team leader to instill a positive energy.” At Accel, I try my best to keep morale up at all times, making sure that our crews ENJOY coming to work, and that I do what I can to make the work we do interesting. Someone once said that it’s not work if you’re having fun, and that’s the sort of mentality I think this Leadership Quality is getting at. I also like that they point out that it’s the job of the team leader to instill a positive energy. Too many managers take a culture for granted, not realizing that a team reflects its leader. Therefore, if the team is sloppy, it’s most likely because the leader is undisciplined. If the team is sullen and grumpy all the time, it’s certainly because their leader is bitter, unkind, or harsh. If clients love working with a particular team, it’s often the case that their leader is working hard to instill a positive energy.

    Last year, there was a couple of times that we had a hurricane/tropical storm warning. During these warnings, we are extra cautious about the weather, especially wind. High winds can wreak havoc on tents, as a post I made earlier this year showed. Also, insurance companies will not cover damage that results from tropical storms. It becomes an “act of God”, and most insurance policies do not cover that, especially if it was a tent that we installed knowing that the storm was highly possible. Well, we also have clients, and we require ourselves to service our clients as best as possible, providing them with products when they need it. So for this particular instance, we installed a tent that morning at a wedding venue, with the specific requirement that we had the right to pull it if the weather turned bad, and certainly at the end of the night, so that in case the storm came barreling through at 2am, we wouldn’t have a tent just waiting to become a missile.

    Well, that night turned out great, and our team arrived at 11pm, as scheduled, to break down the tent. The homeowner was not happy. He was, rightly so, concerned about the noise level, and didn’t want to disturb his neighbors. He told our guys to get out of there, and then they called me. Our crew was understandably intimidated, and needed to know what to do. All I could think of was that I would rather make a bit of noise for his neighbors than have a huge tent rip through their house at 4am in the middle of a storm. Instead of delegating this task, I asked to speak with the homeowner. At the time, he was still upset, and told us that if we continued to break down, we would never be allowed on property again. Undeterred, I told him that I would be willing to risk that because I was more concerned about his possible safety than the profits of future events there. He grudgingly ok’ed it, and I got back on the phone with our crew, THANKED them for being so strong and working so hard that late at night, ENCOURAGED them to please try to be as quiet as possible, and told them to call me if they needed anything at all. That gave our crew the mental strength to press forward and finish the job, doing a really good job.

    Even better, the homeowner called me personally a few days later, apologized, and said he understood what a position I was in, and how I made the wise decision. So we kept a happy crew, AND a happy client! Therefore, a positive attitude, NOT necessarily a sense of humor, kept this situation under control.