Ep #114: Laughter and Leadership
Being firm and serious when you need to be is important, but if overused, it can lose its authority and make you unapproachable. Real laughter is a form of connection. I think that leaders who laugh and have fun create better cultures. They create a connection that’s based on authenticity and truth – and that is one of the most potent forms of engagement.
What you’ll find in this episode:
- Why levity is a leadership skill.
- The reason integrating laughter into your work is so critical.
- Why laughter, when you’re in a leadership role, is so contagious.
- Laughter is the best medicine, and “truth be told, those of us who know this also make the best healers.” ~ Kris
Featured on the Show and Other Notes:
- Spreading Laughter on a Subway – Contagious Happiness video
- Advanced Leadership Coach Certification is currently open for registration. Get more details here.
- How to CEO Bring It Session – go to ceobringit.com
- Come connect with me on Instagram here or on Facebook here.
- Let me know what questions you have or what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org
- I’d be honored, if you find this podcast of value, if you would write a review. Then DM me on Instagram or Facebook or email me at email@example.com and let me know it was you. Then we’ll send you my favorite books list!
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Hey, I’m Kris Plachy, host of the Lead Your Team Podcast. Running a million dollar business is not easy, and whether you’re just getting started with building your team, or you’ve been at this for a while, I’m going to bring you honest, specific, and clear practices you can use right now, today, to improve how well you lead your team. Let’s go ahead and get started.
Hey, hey, welcome. Welcome. Welcome. I’m so happy to have you here today. I’m Kris Plachy. I will be talking with you today about laughing, which I love to do. And before I do that though, I have some housekeeping things I want to share with you.
So, first of all, if you’re listening to this and you are a certified Life Coach School coach, and you want to become an advanced leadership coach, you want to get advanced certification as a life coach for the Life Coach School, we are going to be conducting a 12 week leadership coach certification program, and it will be starting very soon. Go to leadershipcoachcertification.com, and you can learn everything you need to learn about it, and we are currently accepting enrollments.
But we’re not going to be accepting a ton of people, so if this has been on your mind, you want to learn how to coach leaders, you want to dig into this space more so than maybe you do already, I would love to work with you. I have been coaching and developing leaders for 26 years, and I actually have already about 30 certified leadership coaches that I have certified through my work over the course of the years.
So this is incredibly exciting. The work’s going to be really powerful. I’m going to be teaching you four frameworks that I use to diagnose, assess, triage, and then support my clients through their development as a leader using also the tools that I learned through the Life Coach School. So it’s a very integrated program, and I’ve put together a video series for you to learn about it, but you need to go to a leadershipcoachcertification.com to get the details, but we are currently open for registration. So if you haven’t been on the wait list and you don’t know about it, now you can.
Secondly, the How To CEO Program is booming and we are making some changes to how we’re accepting clients. And so I want to make sure you know what that is, because I know there’s a lot of you who think about things before you take the plunge. So unlike in the past where you could really just register if you were on the wait list, we are now requiring that we meet all of our clients. And in order to do so, you need to come to a Bring It Session and Bring It Sessions or things that I’m going to be offering these a couple of times a month and it’s an opportunity for you to receive some real life coaching with me and experience what it’s like to work in this program. From there, you will be invited to register. This program is, in my mind, pretty exclusive because we do work with some, frankly, very high profile women and some who aren’t high profile yet but want to be.
And we want to be discerning for both of us involved, so for you as a client and for me as a coach about who participates in this program, because I think the level of the student, the level of the client also drives the level of the conversation and the experience for everybody else. So if you know that you want to work with us, but you’re just still checking it out or you aren’t sure, regardless, we do need you to come to a Bring It Session. So those will be available if you go to CEObringit.com. You’ll be able to see when the next session is. You can sign up. You have to complete a quick series of questions and then you’ll need to RSVP as well to make sure that you’ll be on the call. Okay, so more details at CEObringit.com.
So today I want to talk about laughing. So it was an interesting conversation that my husband and I had over the weekend. And then we were just talking about we’ve all been inside, stuck in our house forever, and we miss people. He and I went to dinner for the first time in a year and we were talking about maybe trying to get together with some people. And it was just an interesting conversation.
I don’t know if you all have this, but if you’re a couple, there’s always one person in the couple that you both get along with better than the other. I don’t know. It’s when you can find a couple where you all get along, it’s so great to all get along. And we were talking about a few different folks that we know. These aren’t close friends, but I said, “One of the challenges for me about the women, anyway, in these marriages, is they don’t laugh. They don’t laugh. It’s not even that they’re serious. They just don’t laugh. I like out loud guffaw, “Ha, ha, ha,” laughing. I want to laugh. These people, they’re nice people. Nothing wrong with anybody. Just no laughing.
And so then what ends up happening for me, because I want to laugh is, guess what I do? I laugh at myself and I turn into a class clown. And we were talking about, sometimes on these groups that I go to that are lots of women that are very serious about their business, I’m on these calls being silly because I want to laugh. I want to laugh. And so it really got me thinking about work, of course, because everything to me is about leadership. I really think about this and I thought, “Okay, so this is fascinating. I do laugh a lot. I laugh a lot with my team. I laugh a lot with my girlfriends, and I laugh a lot with my clients.” I laugh even when my clients are crying, but not at them. We just have to find the humor. Listen to me, there’s all sorts of shit going on in the world. Life’s tough. Can we please laugh? Levity is a leadership skill. Can you bring levity to even the most intense moments?
Now, I think that you’ll find, if you know people who know me, I can be quite firm and serious if I need to be, but that is not an edge I use often, which I think actually is a good thing. You overuse it, it loses its authority, and, B, it makes you very unapproachable. And I know part of what makes what I do feel so powerful for me is the authenticity of our connection that I have with my clients and that they have with me.
You don’t get a version of me in this program that I do. You get me, which is maybe not a good thing, depending on your perspective. But I like to laugh, and I really want to invite you, if you are in a leadership role and you don’t laugh, can we work on it? Can you ask yourself, why are you afraid to be silly? Funny? Do you think laughing is immature? Do you think it makes you lose credibility? Maybe you do. I don’t.
I find people who can find the humor in that moment in anything so endearing. So real laughter is a form of connection. It is a way to be seen and to see others, really. In my closest friendships, we laugh. We laugh. I’ve actually always cried when I laugh. People make fun of me. My face turns beet red and I literally cry. It’s been a problem my whole life, because my makeup would run down my face and my nose would start to run. I have a terrible laugh reflex. Really, it consumes me, but there’s just nothing better than laughing so hard you can’t breathe. It’s like the best feeling on the planet, and we know it’s contagious.
Have you seen those videos of the guy? There’s a video of a guy on a subway, I think it’s in England, and he’s pretending to be reading something hysterical. And he’s just all into this book and he’s reading it and he’s laughing, and he has the best laugh. “Ha, ha, ha!” And by the time he’s done, the entire car is laughing. They don’t even know what he’s looking at. They’re just laughing at the guy’s laughter.
So your laughter, when you’re in a leadership role, is so contagious. It’s spirited. It’s human. Smiling. Have you ever paid attention? I watch even politicians. There are politicians who don’t smile. Have you ever noticed? I want a leader, I want a politician, I want a CEO, I want a boss, I want a person in my life who’s got authority and influences my outcomes, I want them to be able to smile and laugh and enjoy themselves and me.
So I’m telling you this for a few reasons. First of all, I think you have to get that if you ever think you’re going to work with me. I coached a woman this morning who’s having a really hard time, but you know what? We got some laughter, and I could hear the smile by the time we were done.
I think that leaders who laugh are leaders who have fun. I think that leaders who have fun create better cultures. I think that leaders who laugh and have fun and create better cultures create connection that’s based on authenticity and truth. And I believe that is one of the most potent forms of engagement you could focus on. Laughter is a release, and in times of difficulty right now, the more you can foster opportunity for people to have releases is great.
Now, there’s a difference between laughter because we’re telling jokes and we’re making fun of people, and just genuine noticing the obscurity and the randomness of the world. Can you laugh? Will you let yourself laugh? Pay attention, do you laugh a lot? Maybe you do. I wonder. Why do you not laugh? I wonder why. What do you make laughing mean? What do you make it mean when you see other people laughing? What are you making it mean when you hear me laughing?
A lot of you, I think one of the most common things I hear from people is they say, “I love you laughing.” And here’s what’s hysterical, look at this. There’s nobody else here. If you’re watching this video, if you’re not, if you’re just listening, there’s nobody else around and I’m still finding myself incredibly entertaining and laughing.
So I just love to work with women who want to find this space in themselves because this to me is where we’re going to change the world, that authentic part of who you are, not the one that you’ve had to put on. Not the one that you’ve been passively without paying much attention, but the one who can see and experience all of it. This woman I coached this morning is in so much pain, but she’s willing. And then I also told a joke, and then she’s willing to laugh. Okay, we have to laugh at that. Come on, you guys. That really happened.
One of the things I say to my clients all the time if they have an employee problem, I’m like, “Did they know people were watching them?” They don’t help the invisibility cloak on. They know people can see them doing that in the world. We have to laugh. We have to find room for laughter. I believe that laughter is a leadership asset. I believe that giving people glimpses into who you are and letting them see you is an asset. I do not believe that a version of you, but not all of you, is going to help you lead authentically and learning how to integrate laughter, the vulnerability of laughter, of chuckling, of giggling is so critical.
So I wrote a whole blog about this because I just feel so strongly about it. And I wrote this one line that I wanted to share with you and leave with you. Because we’ve heard that laughter really is the best medicine. And I write that, “Truth be told, those of us who know this also make the best healers.”
So if you are a leader, I believe you’re in a position to heal. You’re in a position to heal people’s perspective of authority, power, dominance, success, potential collaboration, communication. You have so many opportunities to heal the wounds of people’s past experience with either other leaders in business or other leaders in their lives. And if laughter is one of the best medicines, then as a woman who is leading, you also have this as an asset to heal, to create spaces and places for people to come and be human and be seen and be cared for and also be held to the highest possibility and potential of themselves.
I wonder what you think about what I’m saying. I always love to know. You can always email us at hello@krisplachy, or DM me, and Instagram, KrisPlachyCoach. If you don’t follow us already, go there, please. Something to think about.
I’ll leave you with a laugh, because, why not? Let’s have a good time, y’all. Life is too short. If I learned anything in 2020, man, bring on the laughter, bring on this silly, bring on the fun. Life’s tough, y’all. We all have our moments, I get it. I never want to minimize those, but I do not want to park on them. I want to laugh and I want to be with people who want to laugh. How about you? I’ll talk to you soon.
One more thing before you go, in a world of digital courses and online content, I like to work with my clients live because I know that when you have someone you can work with, ask questions of, and meet with you’re so much more likely to get the success that you want. So head on over to howtoCEOlive.com to learn more about our very exciting, very exclusive program. Just for female entrepreneurs. We’ll see you there.