Are people in your organization leaping out of bed eager to get to work? Or is work a four-letter curse word? What’s the Laughter Index in your workplace?
In the most effective organizations, leaders are often “leading in the key of E” by engaging and energizing people. It’s so vital. And too rare. Leadership researcher and author, Tom Peters, says many managers believe work is serious business. He jokes that etched in stone over the entrance to business schools, the inscriptions read, “All ye who enter here shall never smile again.” If suppressed laughter does spread the hips and produce gas that may explain a few things!
How do you get people to take the stairs rather than the escalator? Make it more fun. A few years ago, Volkswagen produced a short video of a fascinating experiment in Stockholm. They fitted stairs beside an escalator with electronic piano keys as steps. People could go up the escalator or walk up the stairs and make music. 66% more people suddenly choose to take the stairs. Climbing the stairs was no longer work. It was fun. Click Piano Staircase Initiative to join the fun.
German organizational professor, Nico Rose, surveyed 900 middle managers to assess what workplace factors stressed out or energized them. In Lack of Fun at Work Kills Motivation, he writes, “given that having fun at work is such a serious matter — an interesting follow-up question is: What are the drivers of perceived fun at work? In order to clarify this, I ran another linear regression; this time, using (lack of) fun as the target variable. These are the three most important drivers of fun at work:
- Strength orientation
- Meaning in work
- Working atmosphere among colleagues”
Building strengths is vital to an energized workplace. Michelle McQuaid found “78% of employees who report having a meaningful discussion with their manager about their strengths feel their work is making a difference and is appreciated. These employees are most likely (61%) to be leaping out of bed in the morning to get to work.” Playing to our strengths is much more fun.
Research also shows that putting purpose at the core of your organization boosts engagement and effectiveness. Purposeful leadership is even more critical for younger generations. They are Generation Why, as in why does this organization exist?
Are you having fun? Do you let your face know about it? Are you energizing your organization? Or are you the boss who energizes the room by leaving it?