How to Lead with Fun

When you have employees…it’s good when they enjoy what they do.

When they’re passionate about their work…and they’re having fun, it shows!

It also shows when they don’t enjoy what they do.  Loss of productivity, and most of all, loss of customer relations. 

If you’re an entrepreneur, you may have vendors who work for you, rather than direct employees. If you have several vendors who can do the same job for you, who can deliver the same product for the same price, who are you going to do business with?  Are you most likely to work with the one you like…the company that makes you feel like you’re an important customer…like you matter?

The ultimate, unbeatable, unstoppable sales force for any company is one that has passion and joy…a team that has fun.  And, as you know, behind every great sales force or service organization is a whole slew of hard-working people who put it all together.  Who build the product, mail it out, make sure it gets there on time, or make sure whatever goods or service that was sold creates a satisfied customer. 

This means giving everyone who works for you a reason to smile!

Unfortunately, tradition…particularly in America…says work is hard.  It’s not supposed to be fun, and if someone’s having fun at work…they’re not doing their job. 

Unfortunately, this is a really bad tradition.  And…wrong!  Having fun at work is an extraordinarly beneficial, megawatt way to increase productivity and morale.  Add on creativity, decreased turnover, and fewer sick days and it’s really easy to see the pay-off.

But… how do you do it?  How do you create a work force that knows how to have fun while getting what needs to be done…done? 

If you are a people leader…here are few tactics for thoughtful consideration.  And…implementation if you choose.  These are tactics that as a people leader for several decades I have practiced, and I can tell you are successful.  They work!

Tactic #1:  Lead by example

People who work for you look to you for clues about the way they should act in the workplace.  If you don’t know how to have fun at work, it’s very doubtful anyone who works for you will, either.  I really love the book “Happy for no Reason” by Marci Shimoff.  If having fun at work is a rather foreign concept to you, as it is to many of us, I highly recommend you read this book, and follow some of the suggestions.  One of the suggestions Marci makes is to create 3 “Happiness Habits for the Mind:

  • Question Your Thoughts
  • Go Beyond the Mind and Let Go
  • Incline Your Mind Toward Joy”

To lead by example, it’s not enough to force a smile on your face and say “Let’s have fun at work today.”   You’ll have to believe it to make it work

 (Perhaps…that’s … a  little play on words..: < ) 

If you’ve been brought up in the tradition of “Work is Work” and “Play is Play” it may take some time to let go of the fear that work and play can’t mix.  If this is an issue for you, spend some time with it, and raise your comfort level enough that you’re genuine and sincere.  Then go practice!

Tactic #2:  Get to Know your Employees

Everyone’s different.  Everyone responds to different stimuli in a different way.  Knowing the people who work for you helps you identify what they respond to.  What do they do for fun?  What is rewarding to them?  How can you improve their level of fun and satisfaction at work?   If you don’t know…ask them.  Then find ways to recognize them that fits their individual styles.  This will allow you to find the most effective way to use fun and play for recognition, reward, and the creation of a happy workplace. 

Tactic #3:  Give it Time

In Wayne Dyer’s “Excuses Be Gone”, he quotes “Habit is habit, and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs a step at a time.”  Changing a work environment takes time.  Building trust in your work group will take commitment by all of the leaders, and a genuine belief that what you are doing makes a difference.  Slowly, over time, small incremental steps lead to large, fundamental changes.

It takes time to build a company with a motto like: “The company that plays together…stays together.”   

Share the perks and share the pain.  Not every season is “the best.”  Right now, when business is down for a lot of companies, it can really help to share the challenges.  Just remember to celebrate small victories.   Boosting the bottom line can come from the smallest innovations or the smallest changes. 

So wherever you’re at today, whomever you wish would follow you…start with you.  Have a little fun right now.  Take a break…watch a few minutes of an old “Three Stooges”.  Or…maybe get a few people together for a  quick singalong…  Fun and Profit…Fun and Profit…go together like a ??…Beam and Soffit??

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