How important is it for a leader to have a good sense of humor?

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue Line

Our reader poll today asks: How important is it for a leader to have a good sense of humor?

– Critical. Great leaders need to laugh. 48.4%
– Very. Humor is a core leadership trait. 42.4%
– Kind of. We’re here for work but laughs are OK, too. 8.4%
– Not very. Humor doesn’t add a lot at work. 0.3%
– Not at all. Get back to work. 0.5%

Learn to laugh. A vast majority of you see a sense of humor as a key leadership skill (90%+). Humor is a great way to alleviate stress, make work enjoyable and build a sense of team. Don’t be afraid to laugh and have a good time. Just realize your sense of humor may not be the same as someone else’s. Be careful with jokes, pranks and gags, especially if they’re at someone else’s expense. One of the best forms of humor you can employ is the self-deprecating kind. Learn to laugh at yourself and stop taking yourself so seriously because, candidly, no one else does. Lighten up and let the laughs roll.

Do you agree with these poll results? Let us know in the comments below!

Mike Figliuolo at thoughtLEADERS, LLC

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These results were originally a SmartPulse poll in SmartBrief on Leadership which tracks feedback from more than 210,000 business leaders. Get smarter on leadership and sign up for the SmartBrief on Leadership e-newsletter.

3 Responses to “How important is it for a leader to have a good sense of humor?”

  1. juan pablo says:

    How come I never get chance to answer the surveys? Or is it to just some people?

    • Mike Figliuolo says:

      We actually conduct the surveys via SmartBrief on Leadership in their weekly newsletter. The polls typically run on Tuesdays. You can answer the poll questions there and see the results immediately there too. We re-run those results on the thoughtLEADERS Blog at a later date. I hope that helps. You can sign up for SmartBrief here:

  2. Dave Howe says:

    Random thoughts and responses:
    In any interpersonal situation, people care about and remember how they are treated over what actually happened. This is particularly true in critical situations, where leadership is crucial.
    The respondents who discount humor in the workplace may have a limited understanding of human behavior. I would ask them, “How would you prefer to be led?”
    The humorless (or humor-deficient) workplace is a dismal hell. Probably a business or organization with a very short lifespan. On the other hand, a leader who uses humor appropriately is apt to be effective, if not beloved.

    The 0.5% who said “Get back to work” must have been joking…

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