04 May 2021
I ran a Myer’s Briggs course recently where one of the main focuses of the day was to have fun. The last twelve months have been brutal, and the business appreciated the need to help their teams come together again and bond.
Bringing humour to a situation has an additional benefit. The ‘humour effect’ is a well-recognised cognitive bias which means people remember information better when they perceive it as humorous or funny.
This was certainly true for the pack I was working with. Rather than framing the session in the workplace, I used the MBTI Dog Type Table, which relates characteristics to specific canines. Whilst the individual pack members may not remember their type by letters, they’ll definitely remember their Dog Typie. They might forget if they’re an ‘ENTJ’ or an ‘ESTP’, but they’ll definitely remember that they’re a protective German Shepherd or a fearless Jack Russell.
From the start, the mood in the kennel was uplifted by an injection of humour. The transposal of the workplace from an office to a kennel, and from a team to a pack also enabled a more insightful analysis of each individual ‘dog’s’ drivers and preferences.
A recent article in HBR acknowledged the importance of humour in the workplace. Research shows that a team whose leader has a sense of humour are twice as likely to solve a creativity challenge. As the article says,
“A lot of humour’s power is chemical. When we laugh, our brains produce less cortisol (inducing calm and reducing stress) and release more endorphins (which give us something like a runner’s high) and oxytocin (often called the “love” hormone). It’s like meditating, exercising, and having sex at the same time. Plus, it’s HR-approved.”
So, as restrictions are eased and we take our next tentative steps on the roadmap, it’s definitely worth considering the role humour can play at work to ease the transition forwards towards our unknown future.