In my posts over the past year, I’ve discussed hiring people who can handle ambiguity, mentioned hiring people with intelligence and humility, and even hiring people who have a growth mindset. Last week I highlighted a New York Times article that outlined five traits that successful executives often look for in the people they hire: passionate curiosity, battle-hardened confidence, team smarts, a simple mind-set, and fearlessness.
And yet somehow I failed to mention the one characteristic almost every CEO prefers – sense of humor.
In a fascinating post on Canada One, Steve Bannister discusses some of the latest research on humor (that’s my kind of research gig). The article outlines how sense of humor is not simply joke telling – it’s social glue.
Steve notes that humor binds us together, lightens our burdens and helps us keep things in perspective.
“Because of humours’ social nature, those people with a healthy sense of humour are less overwhelmed in tough situations, more cheerful and less rigid. They are also able to use laughter to diffuse hostility and encourage cooperation when working in a team and completing projects. People who laugh well together work well together.”
Business guru Tom Peters also has strong feelings about the importance of humor at work: “The number one premise of business is that it need not be boring or dull. It ought to be fun. If it’s not fun, you’re wasting your life.” Getting more humor into the workplace will increase creativity, teamwork and, ultimately, productivity, he says.
The reality is that the best people are attracted to working environments where there is an element of fun. So where is your sense of humor?