Are You Too Serious?

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As a leader, how willing are you to open yourself up to the possibility of looking ridiculous in public? Do you believe your employees will think less of you if you do something completely silly and off the wall?

Leaders often complain how difficult it is to connect with their employees. While our employees may have different life experiences, the common thread that can tie us together is laughter.

Last summer I got to witness this first hand, at a minor league baseball game. The company where my husband was employed had a family outing at the ballpark. Anyone who has ever attended a minor league baseball game has seen the lengths the staff goes to in order to entertain the crowds during a break in the action. What makes these events especially funny is the fact that they pull spectators out of the crowd and attempt to make them look foolish.

This was no different. The staff made the rounds to select people to participate in the different events, and my husband either drew the shortest straw, or was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. He and one of his employees were picked to participate in one of the events. While they nervously anticipated the middle of the 8th inning, they were getting advice and/or ribbing from the other employees.

Their time finally came, and they were led out onto the field for their “physical challenge” of running, doing push-ups, sit-ups and jumping jacks. And sure enough, my husband rolled with it, and did a great job all the while getting cheered on by his fellow employees.

He was not exactly thrilled about going out onto the baseball field for the purpose of publicly embarrassing himself, however, it sent a great message to his employees – don’t take yourself too seriously, and you open up an interesting dialogue with your staff. After the race was over, my husband kept running into co-workers who were cracking up over the videos they shot of his performance, asking how soon the video would appear online? (For the record, it only took me about an hour to post it online – with his permission of course!) 

If you jump way outside your comfort zone, this could be your golden opportunity to connect with your employees, to show them you are just like everyone else – you like to have fun and have a good laugh, even if it means you may look a bit silly in the end.

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