Want to Be a Success? Use Humor

Many job descriptions include a line about how successful applicants will have a good sense of humor, but usually this means, “Won’t flip over his or her desk, Real Housewife-style, when things get tough.” A recent article on Forbes.com, however, points out that having a good sense of humor is valuable to you as an employee, not just to your company. Here’s why.

Michael Kerr, president of Humor at Work, tells Forbes that surveys suggest humor is — or can be — a key to success at work.

“At an organizational level, some organizations are tapping into what I’d call ‘the humor advantage,'” Kerr says. “Companies such as Zappos and Southwest Airlines have used humor and a positive fun culture to help brand their business, attract and retain employees and to attract customers.”

But even if your company doesn’t have humor as a core value, deploying funniness in the right way can make you seem more graceful, more mature, and just generally like an easier person to work with. The key, of course, is to refrain from making others the butt of your jokes, or from making comedy the primary motivation of all your communications. (Everyone has worked with that person. They tend to be exhausting.)

If you’re looking for more clues on how to use humor in the best way for your career, Forbes offers a few tips, including:

1. It’s a stress-buster.

“In fact, it’s a triple whammy,” Kerr says. “Humor offers a cognitive shift in how you view your stressors; an emotional response; and a physical response that relaxes you when you laugh.”

2. It puts others at ease.

Humor not only breaks tension, but can also cause people to shift from thinking solely from one point of view to a more creative and complex perspective.

3. It boosts morale.

Who wouldn’t want to laugh more at work? After all, as the saying goes, some days, it’s either laugh or cry.

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