Your jokes aren’t as funny as you think they are, Boss.

13 04 2015

“We have self-centered minds which get us into plenty of trouble.  If we do not come to understand the error in the way we think, our self-awareness, which is our greatest blessing, is also our downfall.” ~Joko Beck

I recently attended a webinar on leadership at the C-suite (CEO, COO, CFO, CMO, etc.) and the things that we have to watch out for.  The biggest take away for me was the point they made about humor.  They said that executives jokes aren’t as funny as they think they are, because they judge the jokes success by the amount of laughter they get in the room.  When everyone in the room works for you to some level, of course they may be more likely to laugh just a little louder than they would if you were a peer.  They might even roll their eyes and/or groan at the same joke told by a subordinate.

That brings to light all kinds of issues that we, as leaders, need to keep in mind:  1. Don’t lead a conversation – Ask the question/frame the problem and listen, then speak last, so that you are not driving group-think.  2. Have someone tasked to poke holes in your theories – the anti-yes-man.  Their job is to find flaws in your thinking, and they get rewarded for that.  3. During coaching, ask the 3 questions, as they all invite criticism.  After a while, your subordinate will be brave enough to give you some good tips on what to start doing, stop doing, and resources they need to succeed.  4.  That good-looking subordinate is NOT hot for you – and you’re not as handsome as they may make you feel.  Just because they smile at you, pay attention to your words, etc – they’re not into you!  Don’t mix business and pleasure with your subordinates – it’s a path fraught with peril!

Speaking of self-awareness…


Rubes cartoons used with permission.




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