Smiling & Thriving on the FUNdamentals of Leadership

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to sharpen your sense of humor to increase your performance . Reading time: 3:12

        The bite of the flu bug left me writhing in pain and moaning in bed one early morning. “Oh, God. Oh, God!” I moaned. And moaned. My wife, laying next to me,  sized up the situation quickly. She knew I was looking more for sympathy than for survival. “Oh, God. Oh God!” I moaned again.

      “Yes?” deadpanned my wife right on cue. “How can I help you?”

       I laughed. The more I laughed the more I hurt. Oh, my aching ribs. But I didn’t care.  It was funny. And I laughed — at the hurt.

      My wife’s sense of humor taught me a lesson in what I have come to understand as the FUNdamentals of Leadership. That’s the uncanny ability of leaders to use comic relief in real or perceived tense situations to  renew, revive and rekindle the heart and soul of others.

FUNdamental Leadership Breaks Down Barriers

      After all, the FUNdamental Leadership breaks down barriers. Consider the way George H. Bush, then sitting president of the United States, tapped into his sense of self-deprecating humor to make a stronger connection to his audience in Chicago. Bush, the titular head of the free world, said he knew the audience wanted to hear a few words from a prominent figure who can really fire up a crowd. “Unfortunately, Bears coach Mike Ditka is getting ready for next week’s game and (my wife) Barbara Bush couldn’t make it either, so here I am.”

    “Ha Ha” Is  The First Cousin of “Aha”

             The FUNdamentals of Leadership chastises the intolerant. When Ronald Reagan was 73, the President of the United States used humor to chastise those who thought he was too old to run for a second term. His opponent was nearly 20 years younger. Reagan, with his tongue firmly in his cheek, said: “I will not exploit for political purposes my opponent’s youth and inexperience.”

           Even his opponent laughed. And so did Reagan — and millions of Americans—all the way to the ballot box and onto another political victory woven in part from the threads of humor.

             The FUNdamentals of Leadership  Increases Productivity

           The FUNdamentals of Leadership can also increase productivity. People who said their jobs were satisfying  and a lot of fun were more productive than those who said their jobs were satisfying but not a lot of fun, according to a study conducted at California State University by Dr. David Abramos.  They used their sense of humor to displace their intense anger as Freud once defined humor.

            And  the FUNdamentals of Leadership can enhance your creativity.  “Ha, ha is the first cousin of Aha,” writes Michael Gelb in his book: Thinking for a Change.  Humor broadens our perspective as the Rev. Billy Graham said in helping us “to overlook the unbecoming, understand the unconventional, tolerate the unpleasant, overcome the unexpected and outlast the unbearable.”

        Even a groaning husband plying for attention.  “Oh God!” May you smile awhile today as you practice the FUNdamenals of Leadership. I look forward to sharing a laugh with you.  Please share how  you use your sense of humor as  a leadership tool? Use the Comments section below.

Today’s ImproveMINT

Lighten Up. Hone your sense of humor  to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.

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