Savoring a Leadership Mint to SEASON Your Sense of Humor

SEASON is an acrostic for 6 ways that you can use humor to engage others, ease tension, enhance more effective teamwork and sustain a nurturing culture filled with heart-felt dignity and respect. The 6 ways to enhance your humor are: Substituting, Exaggerating, Associating, Skewing, Opposing and Narrowing.


When you substitute, you bait and switch. You bait your audience with a straight line (the setup) then you substitute an unexpected but related concept (the punchline). Citing the wedding night of 86-year-old Hugh Hefner to a 26-year-old, Jay Leno substituted: “She wore Channel No. 5. He wore Febreze.”


When you exaggerate, you stretch a point of view. Observing the longevity of Regis Philbin still hosting a TV talk show at 80,  David Letterman exaggerated: “I don’t want to say that Regis is old but his first co-host was Eve.”


When you associate, you link two unrelated ideas. Associating his roommate’s initials with an expletive, Oscar Madison in the movie The Odd Couple says to Felix Unger,You write me these notes and sign them FU. It took me three months to realize FU stood for Felix Unger.


When you skew, you twist the intended meaning. A pretty woman remarked how cool the man she was just introduced to looked in his light summer suit. The man skewed:Thanks, you don’t look so hot yourself.” (Yes, that’s Yogi Berra the Hall of Fame baseball player who had his own way with words. )


When you oppose, you redirect the expected order. Rodney Dangerfield redirected the expected order with this opposing observation: “When I was a boy I was so poor, I got batteries. Toys not included.”


When you narrow, you limit the intended meaning. A 5-year-old boy crashed his dad’s car into the garage. The boy then narrowed his sites, noting that he put the car’s transmission into “R” for race.

You can get more tips and techniques on sharpening your sense of humor to enhance your leadership skills. See The FUNdamentals of Leadership in THINKING LIKE A LEADER, available on


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