By Courtney Connley
Listen to "The New Rules of Business" by Chief and follow wherever you get your podcasts.
Humor is often used to bring people together. But when used in the wrong context, it can also pull people apart, especially at work. In the latest episode of "The New Rules of Business" by Chief, Co-Founders Carolyn Childers and Lindsay Kaplan talk to Stanford Business Professors Jennifer Aaker and Naomi Bagdonas about the benefits of humor in business and how leaders can use it to their advantage.
"We know from the research that leaders with a sense of humor — any sense of humor — are seen as about 15% more motivating and admired," says Aaker. "Their teams are also more engaged and creative and, not only that, humor sells."
Co-authors of the book Humor, Seriously, Aaker and Bagdonas break down the difference between levity, humor, and comedy, and they detail how knowing someone's specific humor style can be the key to winning them over at work.
"Broadly, globally, people fall into like four styles," says Aaker. "One of the styles is a stand up and they're bold and brash, and they are not afraid to ruffle a few feathers to cross the line. And then there are also the sweethearts, and they're understated and honest. Their real goal is to lift others… Then there is the sniper, they're edgy, sarcastic, dry, masters of the unexpected dig. They will snipe in a meeting and bring the house down. Oftentimes it's hard to get them to laugh by the way, but when you do, you feel great. And then there's the magnet, and they're a little bit more extroverted. They walk into a party and they're the life of the party."
Each of these styles, Aaker explains, have "upsides and downsides." But, understanding your own humor style, as well as the humor style of others, can be beneficial for anyone looking to navigate and command a room.
Listen to the latest episode of "The New Rules of Business" to learn more about how leaders can use humor as a secret tool in business.