By Dr Vanessa Marcie
“Organisational humour should be kind and intelligent in using situational awareness.” Dr Vanessa Marcie
Being kind and respectful seems pretty obvious, but actually, it is very powerful.
Humour is an efficient medium to convey a strong message, and sometimes people use it to convey a negative message. Perhaps you have been the butt of a joke at one point in your life. it happened to me, and maybe it happened to you, too.
When people use humour to offend, they deprive the other person of their power to be angry and to respond because it is said as a joke. Because it is a joke, you don’t necessarily know how to respond. Let’s say you are in a group with colleagues or friends, and somebody makes you the target of his joke. Everybody’s laughing, but you don’t know how to respond because this is not a clear insult. It is a joke. You don’t want to be angry but to be part of the group, to get along with everybody and laugh.
However, in your mind, what has been said remains and hurts you. When I run workshops or masterclasses, people often come up to me to thank me because they finally understand the impact of their sense of humour on others or have learnt how to respond to offensive jokes with humour.
Does your sense of humour comes from a place of fear?
Our sense of humour is a defence mechanism. In many years working in across different industries, I’ve heard a lot of sexist jokes and never knew how to respond, how to react. Years later, I still remember these moments when I walked out of office banter, thinking, damn, I should have said something.
It felt as if those people had deprived me of my power. If I had responded with a joke, I would have regained my power. So over the years, I developed an aggressive sense of humour, to protect myself. Today, as a professional public speaker and a comedian, I’m used to improvising, being bold, and thinking and responding with wit quickly. With a better understanding of my sense of humour ( knowing my sense of humour can hurt people) comes the knowledge of what I can do on stage and what I can do off stage.
Come from a place of respect and with the intention of making people feel good.
Maya Angelou said, “People will forget what you said, what you did, but will never forget how you made them feel.” Your intention should be to make people feel good around you. Knowing you have an aggressive sense of humour, you should learn to be careful. There is no right or wrong sense of humour. However, some are more appropriate for your personal circle, and some are more appropriate in a corporate context.
In a corporate context, it’s preferable to use a more positive sense of humour.
If you don’t know your sense of humour, please do our free quiz now. You will know quickly what your sense of humour is, and you can learn to adapt it to people and situations.
I have acquired an acute awareness of my sense of humour, and I can decipher the type of humour of the people in front of me. With his knowledge, it is easier for me to adapt. Your sense of humour has the potential to socially distance you from others and to have a negative psychological effect on others. It can create conflict and animosity. So, you should focus on humour that brings people together and create positive energy.
- Understand your sense of humour
- Come from a place of kindness and respect rather than fear
- Set the intention to make people feel good around you
- In a corporate environment use a positive sense of humour
Do you lead a team? Do you want to improve your leadership skills? Learn how to use Humour in Leadership. We offer a curriculum of virtual classes (new dates added regularly) and 1-1 coaching programmes to help leaders to master a leadership tool for the 21st century: humour. Our curriculum is designed to provide deep self-awareness, awareness of others and a mindset shift on work and life.
Do you want to bring Leading With Humour at your workplace? Find out how.